Almost everyone is accounted for in the 64th edition of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
All the members of the current top 100 on this year’s LPGA money list will be teeing it up this week at the venerable Kemper Lakes Golf Club. Out of the current top 40 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, 37 are in the field.
With that, here are five power picks for the LPGA Tour’s third major of the 2018 season.
1. INBEE PARK
Inbee Park is having another strong year, but has been just a bit off of late from her top form earlier in the year. She enters Kemper Lakes off a tie for 27th at last week’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
But she didn’t get to be a seven-time major champion by accident, and three victories in this event shows it would unwise to count her out. Park has posted top 10s in both of this season’s majors (T2 ANA, T9 U.S. Open). Last year, she finished T7 at the KPMG, despite opening with a round of 73.
World Rank: 1st
Race to CME Globe: 4th
ANA Finish: T2
US Open Finish: T9
Last Seven: 27, 9, 31, 2, 3, 2, 18
2. ARIYA JUTANUGARN
You will find few willing to argue that Ariya Jutanugarn ought to carry the mantle of favorite for this week. The 2016 LPGA Player of the Year has already been No. 1 in the world once, and a victory this week would likely put her in that position again.
With 19 rounds at- or under-par in her last 20 rounds on Tour, she is in rarefied air at just 22 years of age. The world No. 2 owns two top 5s in the season’s two majors, highlighted by a win at the U.S. Open. The Thai leads the money list by nearly a $1 million.
World Rank: 2nd
Race to CME Globe: 1st
ANA Finish: T4
US Open Finish: 1st
Last Seven: 27, 12, 1, 7, 1, 4, 7
3. LEXI THOMPSON
Lexi Thompson remains lurking as the world’s No. 3-ranked player, and the long bomber comes in playing her best golf of the year. She got it going with a tie for fifth at the U.S. Women’s Open, followed by a tie for ninth at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give and then last week’s tie for third at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.
Last week’s top-3 finish was Thompson’s best showing since February. She also posted a top 10 in last year’s KPMG Women’s PGA, finishing T7.
World Rank: 3rd
Race to CME Globe: 13th
ANA Finish: T20
US Open Finish: T5
Last Seven: 3, 9, 5, 50, 31, 12, 20
4. BROOKE HENDERSON
Brooke Henderson has struggled of late, which is not a total surprise, as the 20-year-old copes with the passing last month of her grandfather. She had to withdraw from the Women’s U.S. Open, and hasn’t contended in the two tournaments she’s played since.
But it could be that the arrival of the KPMG Women’s PGA is just what she needs to find her focus. Nothing breeds confidence like success, and the current 18th-ranked player in the world has had nothing but success each of the three times she’s teed it up previously in this event, never finishing lower than fifth. The 20-year old Canadian captured her 6th career LPGA title earlier this season at the Lotte Championship.
World Rank: 18th
Race to CME Globe: 6th
ANA Finish: T48
US Open Finish: WD
Last Seven: 44, 28, WD, 4, 23, 43, MC
5. MINJEE LEE
World No. 9 Minjee Lee was victorious just a month ago at the LPGA Volvik Championship, and with opening rounds of 64 and 65 she was positioned as co-leader going into last weekend’s Walmart event. A final day showing of 71 left her in a tie for third.
Lee enters the season’s third major off bookend top 3s, including the aforementioned win, between a missed-cut and T34 at the U.S. Open. The 22-year old Aussie is a six-time LPGA Tour winner.
World Rank: 9th
Race to CME Globe: 3rd
ANA Finish: T25
US Open Finish: T34
Last Seven: 3, MC, 34, 1, 19, 19, 2