Minjee Lee raises her arms high to acknowledge the crowd after her US Open win – photo USGA
The golfing world of both genders are in the midst of their major seasons and at this week’s KPMG PGA Championship at the famed Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, is where the women get to play their third of five majors for the season.
The event carries a healthy purse of US$9 million and Nelly Korda, on the bounce back trail from injury, will defend the title she won by three shots over Lizette Salas last year and became the world number one in doing so.
Eight Australasians get their chance to add to the three victories in this event claimed by those from either Australia or New Zealand, Jan Stephenson, Karrie Webb and Hannah Green the previous champions.
Minjee Lee, Lydia Ko, Hannah Green, Su Oh, Sarah Kemp, Stephanie Kyriacou, Sarah Jane Smith and Katherine Kirk will tackle the golf course close to Washington DC, a venue where Rory McIlory won the first of his four majors when winning the US Open be eight shots over Jason Day in 2011.
Lee is, of course, the current US Women’s Open Champion and Ko has been in fine form of late, suggesting both have excellent chances of adding another major title to their already impressive credentials which include two majors for both.
“Kind of a speechless moment for me,” said Lee referring to her US Open win. “It was super special. To be able to do it at Pine Needles, I think it was a little more extra special.
“Yeah, no, it’s been really good. I played last week, and I had the week off before that, so it’s been good.”
Lee was asked what it was about majors that appeals to her so much.
“I think just the challenge,” she resonded. “I like to embrace the challenge, and I think the harder the golf courses get, I think the better I play. You do have to focus a little bit more on smaller details, so I think that’s where I kind of excel. When I play under pressure, that is where I excel as well. I think it just really sets up well.
“Today (Tuesday) is going to be the first day I see the golf course, so I think I’ll just kind of soak it in a bit and test the grass out a little bit and try and adjust what was different from last week to this week.
“So I think my first look I always try to look at everything and try to see where it’s good to miss and all those kind of things. Obviously, tomorrow we have another practice, so I’ll probably play nine on the nine that I think I need more work on.”
Lydia Ko with one of her two major titles to date – photo LET
Congressional’s 18th – one of the scarier finishing shots in the game – photo Matthew Harris PGA of America