Women's PGA Championship Preview
Hazeltine National Golf Club has played host to many of the game's most prestigious events, from the Ryder Cup to the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, with a new chapter being etched this week in Minnesota as the Women's PGA Championship comes to town.
It's the third major on the LPGA Tour's calendar, coming just a fortnight after Jeongeun Lee6 won the U.S. Women's Open. The 23-year-old - who has enjoyed a remarkable debut season on the American circuit - will be considered among the favourites in just her second appearance in this championship.
Former winner Brooke Henderson will be bursting with confidence after winning a thrilling Meijer Classic on Sunday, her second victory of the season. The young Canadian star is still only 21, underlining her prodigious success at an early age, which could be added to this week.
Lexi Thompson is in the midst of a spectacular month of form. Finishing joint runner-up at the U.S. Women's Open, the Solheim Cup stalwart turned the tables on Lee6 by winning the ShopRite Classic, a role reversal, with the Korean in second. A solitary major triumph - the 2014 ANA Inspiration - is a total not befitting the American's immense talent, and it would be a popular story if the 24-year-old claimed the trophy on Sunday. The Floridian was runner-up behind Henderson in Michigan.
Elsewhere, world number one Jin Young Ko will be hoping to recapture headlines, as will the brilliant Australian Minjee Lee, whose maiden major title seems to be an inevitability. This could be the week for the former world's leading amateur from Perth.
Defending champion Sung Hyun Park is a mercurial player without a top ten since the early spring, but her power off the tee should be a favourable attribute at Hazeltine. Japan's Nasa Hatoaka came agonisingly close to winning on the LPGA Tour at the weekend, while two-time major champion So Yeon Ryu is always a threat in these marquee events.
Aside from Thompson, American hopes will be pinned on the Korda sisters - Jessica and Nelly - and former winner Danielle Kang, who secured this trophy two years ago at Olympia Fields. For Europe, strong performances here would be considered a statement ahead of the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles this autumn, and fingers will be crossed for Carlota Ciganda, Bronte Law and Charley Hull, who represent the best chance for success in Chaska.
It's the 65th playing of the Women's PGA Championship - renamed in 2015 after the PGA of America took charge - and that heritage will be evident through the presence of several past champions in the field, including Dame Laura Davies, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr and Yani Tseng.
With many of the top players at their best, the latest major at Hazeltine has the potential to be among the most intriguing yet.
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