2019 champion, Hannah Green – photo Getty Images Yong Teck Lim

Women’s golf plays its third major of 2021 when the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is played this week at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek in Georgia north east of Atlanta.

The venue has a rich history in staging championship golf, having hosted three PGA Championships, one US Open and a Women’s US Open in addition to several other USGA events and a Ryder Cup.

This, though, will be the first occasion the layout has staged an event on the LPGA Tour, the prizemoney in 2021 increasing to its largest ever. US$4.5 million is up for grabs, the winner to take home a first prize of US$675,000.

Seven Australasians are in the field, headed in terms of world ranking by New Zealand’s Lydia Ko who will be joined by Australian and 2019 champion Hannah Green, and her fellow Australians Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk, Su Oh, Sarah Kemp and Gabi Ruffels.

Sarah Jane Smith is also entered but she is currently 5th on the alternate list and unlikely to get a start.

Australians have won this event on four occasions, twice by Karrie Webb, once by Jan Stephenson and when Green won two years ago.

Hannah Green’s form in 2019 has been outstanding having finished once runner-up and twice third and although she disappointed at the recent US Women’s Open it might be that she is favoured to be the best of the down-under group.

Green’s increased length from the tee in 2021 is working to her advantage and has moved her past Minjee Lee as Australia’s leading ranked female golfer.

Lydia Ko has a good record in this event without winning. She has been runner-up on one occasion and once 3rd, the runner-up finish after losing a playoff to Brooke Henderson.

Ko played very well early in 2021 but her more recent form has been below that level. Her resurgence earlier in the year however gave hope to her legion of fans and it might be that she can continue that this week.

As is the case in many of her major appearances, Minjee Lee has played well but more often than not below the level she displays in regular season events. In six starts in this event she has yet to record a top ten and in her 2021 season to date she has been twice fifth in her only top tens in nine starts.

Katherine Kirk has struggled for much of the season and if she was the beat her previous best of 16th in this week’s event it would be considered a significant improvement on her year to date.

Su Oh’s year has also been well below her capabilities although she did show improvement last week when 15th at the Meijer LPGA event in Michigan after being very much in contention heading into the final round.

Sarah Kemp has missed seven of ten cuts at the KPMG LPGA Championship but two top five finishes in events this year suggest she can expect improvement.

Gabi Ruffels is playing this event for the first occasion and while still relatively new to the professional ranks she appears to have a good future at this level. She has played well on occasions in big events including when 13th at last year’s US Women’s Open when considerably less experienced than is the case now.