BACK IN THE WINDY CITY
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which begins Thursday morning at Kemper Lakes Golf Club, returns to Chicago for a second consecutive year. Last year, American Danielle Kang’s dramatic birdie on the 72nd and final hole edged Brooke Henderson, who was the defending champion, by a single stroke at Olympia (Ill.) Fields, which is located only 60 miles south of Kemper Lakes.
100-FOR-100 … AGAIN
The field for the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is again a strong one, as each of the top 100 members on the LPGA Official Money List is present his week at Kemper Lakes Golf Club. Top-100 LPGA talent also had perfect attendance at each of the last two KPMG Women’s PGA Championships: 2017 at Olympia Fields and 2016 at Sahalee.
DANIELLE KANG’S IN A GOOD PLACE
Defending KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner Danielle Kang casually strolled into her press conference while digging into a strawberry ice cream bar. She clearly likes the life of a champion.
“I'm everywhere,” she said with a big laugh. “On the tickets. I'm on the pamphlets. I'm on the board as you drive in. My name is there. Pictures are everywhere.”
RELATED: Who are the longest hitters at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship?
Glory set aside, her trademark big smile and even bigger laugh disguise the tough competitor that lies beneath the surface. In 2017 at Olympia Fields Country Club, Kang three-putted for bogey and tumbled from the top of the leaderboard. In a situation where many elite athletes have crumbled, Kang instead found that internal fighter and came back for her first LPGA and major victory.
“I was so upset on 10 that I three-putted,” said Kang, who reeled off four consecutive birdies to regain the lead and ultimately birdied the 72nd hole for a one-stroke win. “I started thinking about what I could do to fix it, and I go, oh, yeah, that's what causes that, and then the next hole dropped a birdie, and I'm like, there it goes.”
Fast forward a year, and Kang is still looking for a second win to join her KPMG title. But she already has a great track record in defending major victories, having won back-to-back U.S. Women’s Amateur titles in 2010 and 2011.
“When I won the first U.S. Am, the only thing I wanted to do was win that second one,” said Kang, who will begin her title defense on Thursday at 8:10 a.m. with fellow major champions Ariya Jutanugarn and Inbee Park. “I really like that feeling. I've just been looking forward to this event for the whole year, and I'm here.”
MAJOR CHAMPIONS GALORE
The 156-player field for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship includes 29 different major champions that have combined on 62 major titles. Juli Inkster, Inbee Park and Karrie Webb lead the pack with seven majors apiece.
MORE: Phil Mickelson shows of QB skills at KPMG Skills Challenge
10 THAT WANT TO DO IT AGAIN
Ten former KPMG Women’s PGA Champions are in the field this week in Chicago: Laura Davies (1994, 1996), Shanshan Feng (2012), Brooke Henderson (2016), Juli Inkster (1999, 2000), Danielle Kang (2017), Cristie Kerr (2010), Inbee Park (2013, ’14, ‘15), Anna Nordqvist (2009), Yani Tseng (2008, 2011) and Karrie Webb (2001).
THE POWER OF 3
Three players – Ariya Jutanugarn, Inbee Park and Charley Hull -- have posted top-10 finishes in both of the LPGA’s first two major championships of the season, the ANA Inspiration and U.S. Women’s Open. A closer look at their performances:
||U.S. Women's Open
Through 17 completed LPGA events this season, 16 players have claimed victories. With victories in the U.S. Women’s Open and the Kingsmill Championship presented by GEICO, only Ariya Jutanugarn has visited the winner’s circle more than once in 2018. This mimics last year, when there were 15 different winners in 16 events leading into the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (So Yeon Ryu was the lone two-time winner).
THE VIEW FROM THE SUMMIT
Enhancing Championship Week is Wednesday’s 4th Annual KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, which will be hosted on-site at Kemper Lakes. The event brings together highly accomplished leaders in business, politics, sports and the media to inspire the next generation of women leaders. KPMG U.S. Chairman and CEO Lynne Doughtie, 66th U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Navy Admiral Michelle Howard are the keynote speakers, while Olympic medalists Nancy Kerrigan and Hilary Knight will share their relevant experiences gained as world-class athletes.
RELATED: How to watch the KPMG Women's PGA Championship | The field
Net proceeds from the Championship and Summit fund the KPMG Future Leaders Program. This Program affords top female high school seniors across the country the opportunity to enhance their personal growth through college scholarships, a leadership development retreat at Stanford University, a mentoring relationship with a woman business leader, and an introduction to golf.
TOP COACHES LYNN MARRIOTT & PIA NILSSON AT KEMPER LAKES WEDNESDAY
Two of the most accomplished female coaches in the game – Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson – will be at Kemper Lakes on Wednesday. The golf performance gurus will showcase their teaching philosophy and discuss their experience working with some of the best players in the world, including the recently crowned 2018 U.S. Women’s Open Champion Ariya Jutanugarn and her sister Moriya Jutanugarn. Marriott and Nilsson are co-founders of VISION54, a breakthrough program and golf school based at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, and are recognized as two of the highest ranked female instructors in America. Collectively, Marriott and Nilsson have coached tour players to well over 100 victories on the LPGA Tour, PGA Tour, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the LPGA of Japan Tour.
Tomorrow, Marriott and Nilsson will be available for media interested in instructional interviews from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., on the Practice Putting Green at Kemper Lakes.