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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My "5 to Watch" at the KPMG Women's PGA

We have two majors this week -- the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on the LPGA and the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship on the Champions Tour. Today I'll take on the LPGA.

The KPMG Women's PGA Championship will be held at Sahalee Country Club near Seattle, Washington, which is a very densely wooded course that has given the men problems several times. Sahalee has hosted a PGA Championship, a WGC and a Senior US Open -- and that doesn't even include the amateur events.

One of the holes at Sahalee

Although Inbee Park is the defending champion, it's really hard to pick her since I don't know whether her hand has healed enough that she can play. Consequently she doesn't show up on my list.

Likewise, Lydia Ko seems to be in a bit of a funk right now, despite having won the last two majors. While a course like this would seem to be custom-made for a game like hers, I can't help feeling that she's going to be a bit off this week. So -- although I may regret it -- Lydia doesn't make my list either.

I'm also leaving Lexi Thompson and Stacy Lewis off my list. Lexi's putting has been inconsistent and Stacy's problems have been well-documented. So who, you may wonder, DOES make my list?
  • My first pick is Ariya Jutanugarn. With three straight wins in her last three starts, you have to like her chances. That 3-wood of hers is plenty to get her around Sahalee... and she's deadly with it.
  • I also like Haru Nomura. She's a multiple winner this year and is in the Top5 of several stats, plus she's coming off a runner-up finish last week.
  • Mo Martin generally doesn't make my faves list because she's not even an average-length hitter off the tee. However, she leads the LPGA in Driving Accuracy at 87.5% and she can shape shots pretty well. I'm thinking that might be a valuable stat to lead this week!
  • Gerina Piller just keeps hanging around the top of the leaderboard each week. Eventually she's got to break through, and Sahalee is likely to provide us with an unexpected winner. Why not her?
  • And my flier is Christina Kim. After a lot of struggles she seems to have found something, having posted a 2nd and a 4th in her last two events.
But if I had to pick just one, I think I'd go with Haru Nomura this week. She's 5th in Scoring Average, 2nd in Birdies and 4th in Putting for the season, and she seems to be in form after that 2nd at ShopRite. Those could add up to her first major this week.


  1. I like Piller as well as Brooke Henderson and Jessica Korda

    1. Yeah, Jess has been playing better lately and I really debated putting Brooke in my list. A lot of platers would be good bets this time around.

  2. So Yeon Ryu has shown a round or two of brilliance in the past few weeks, but hasn't been able to put 4 days together. She's too talented a player to not get back together, and with the looming Olympic cut-off coming, I wouldn't be surprised to see the former US Women's Open Champion bring something special this week.

    Also keenly watching Ha Na Jang this week. After her hiatus, seemingly stemming from the fallout of the accident with In Gee Chun, it'll be interesting to see where she's at. Before her break, she was certainly on trend to be one of the best of the season.

    1. I'm with you on both of them. Ryu, in particular, has me confused. I keep feeling that her game is strong enough to be the dominant South Korean, yet something must be off just a bit. I sometimes wonder if the pressure has gotten to both her and Stacy Lewis.