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KPMG Women's PGA Championship Preview, Pairings, and More

A big congratulations goes out to Nasa Hataoka for winning the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Nasa took control midway through the third and final round and won this one easily. Austin Ernst finished second, six strokes behind Hataoka. It was Hataoka's first win on the LPGA tour. She also became the 4th first time winner on the LPGA tour this year (follwing Pernilla Lindberg, Moriya Jutanugarn, and Annie Park).

Image result for 2018 kpmg women's pga championship

The LPGA moves to the state of Illinois for the playing of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Danielle Kang will be trying to defend the title she won last year when she held off a charging Brooke Henderson, and won her first LPGA tournament by a single stroke.

Image result for Danielle kang wins kpmg
Danielle Kang made her first LPGA victory a Major Championship last year.

This will be tournament #18 of 33 on the 2018 LPGA schedule, and 3rd of five Major Championships.

Here are the key details:

Race to the CME Globe:  625 points
Course:  Kemper Lakes Golf Club
Location:  Kildeer, IL
Defending Champion:  Danielle Kang
Winning Score:69-66-68-68 = 271 (-13)

Final Field:  156 players
Format:  72 holes
Par:  36/35 = 71
Yardage:  6,588
Purse: $3,650,000

My strength of field rating is a super 86% (up from 85% last year). Forty-eight of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List (Suzann Pettersen and Gerina Piller are both out on maternity leave), and 41 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The only reason why the ANA Inspiration (87.5%) and the U.S. Women's Open (87%) had slightly better field ratings is because those tournament had more top rated non LPGA members in attendance. That said, if you are in the Chicago area come on out because all your favorites are here. 

Here are the first round pairings:

Here are the television times:
June 28 - GC   11:00 PM-3:00 PM ET 
June 29 - GC   11:00 PM-3:00 PM ET 
June 30 - NBC  3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET 
July  1   - NBC  3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET 

Players Most Likely to Win: (Top players in the field)
1- Inbee Park - Hanging on to the #1 spot by a thread. Always a threat to win the majors.
2- Ariya Jutanugarn - A win this week would put her on top of the rankings.
3- Lexi Thompson - Her game rounding into form at the right time.

Players to Watch Out For: (I'm feeling it this week)
1- Nasa Hataoka - Just won her first LPGA event, can she win her first LPGA Major Championship?
2- Austin Ernst - Runner-up this past week and ready to win her first major.
3- Minjee Lee - Has contended almost every week this season.

Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
1- Mariah Stackhouse - Has been playing better every week.
2- Eun-Hee Ji - Is quietly having an excellent season.
3- Danielle Kang - Can she successfully defend?

Other Tidbits:
Caroline Masson missed the cut this past weekend, stopping her cut streak at 26 straight.
There have been 16 different winners in the first 17 LPGA tournaments.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Nasa Hataoka makes the most important move among LPGA players, leaping up from #30 to #19. Austin Ernst catapults from #58 to #37. Three players this week make hugh jumps into the top 100 and into my field rating. They are: Sandra Gal (102-82), Ally McDonald (114-83), and Ryann O'Toole (107-84).

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Ariya Jutanugarn continues to have a huge lead with 2,559 points. She is followed by her sister Moriya with 1,736 and Minjee Lee with 1,699. Inbee Park (1,642) and Jin Young Ko (1,436) fill out the top five.

Who's Hot:
Ariya Jutanugarn is leading the LPGA in every important statistical category. She is leading the tour in Official Earnings, Race to the CME Globe, Rolex Player of the Year, Scoring Average, Putting Average, Birdies, Wins, and Top Tens.

Who's Not:
Jesse Tang has missed 21 consecutive cuts. 
M.J. Hur has failed to register a top twenty finish in any of her 11 starts this year.
Brittany Lang has not finished better than 25th in any of her 13 starts this year, missing nine cuts.

Here are some photos my wife and I have taken the past few days'
Photo Gallery #1
Photo Gallety #2

This Week's Trivia Question: 

Two players have won this Major Championship three consecutive years. Can you name them?

For the answer to this week's trivia press here.

Here are the final results:

1 *Sung Hyun Park -10
2 Nasa Hataoka -10
2 So Yeon Ryu -10
4 Jessica Korda -7
4 Angel Yin -7
6 Charley Hull -6
6 Brooke Henderson -6
8 Jacqui Concolino -5
8 Lizette Salas -5
8 In-Kyung Kim -5
11 Moriya Jutanugarn -4
11 Amy Yang -4
11 Jin Young Ko -4
11 Sarah Jane Smith -4
15 Lexi Thompson -3
15 Lindy Duncan -3
15 Hyo Joo Kim -3
18 Jaye Marie Green -2
18 Marina Alex -2
18 Amy Olson -2
18 Annie Park -2
18 Ryann O'Toole -2
18 Shanshan Feng -2
18 Bronte Law -2
25 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -1
25 Minjee Lee -1
25 Sei Young Kim -1

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.  They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog. 
Tournament results will be posted here at the end of each round. Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found on the right side of this page 
(or on pull down menu on mobile website).


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