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KPMG Women's PGA Championship Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 17 Jun 2024


While all eyes will naturally be on Nelly Korda and the other global stars in the women’s game at this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club, another fascinating storyline will be playing out.

Allie White is the director of golf at Lancaster (Ohio) Golf Club. She started off working at the club's snack bar before joining the grounds crew. However, her longest job in the game was as a touring pro. You probably won’t have heard of her as most of that time was spent on the Epson Tour, the developmental circuit of the LPGA. She played in more than 200 tournaments but quit playing full-time at the end of 2022.

Now she will find herself teeing it up at the season’s third major, pinching herself to ensure it is not all a dream. Why is she here? White, 34, won the 2023 LPGA Professionals National Championship in a playoff at Kingsmill Resort to earn her spot in the LPGA’s second-longest running tournament. Of the 156 players at Sahalee, there will be eight PGA/LPGA professionals that make up the Corebridge Financial PGA Team. White, a veteran of two US Women’s Opens, is the only one in the group making her KPMG Women’s PGA debut.

"This is the golf tournament that celebrates people who have worked in the golf industry," said White. "I have mostly dabbled, but it’s been a lot of dabbling."

Other members of the team include Wendy Ward, a four-time winner on the LPGA competing in her 19th career KPMG Women’s PGA and first since 2013. Ward, 51, now works as a golf instructor at Manito Golf & Country Club in Spokane, Washington.

It has been 10 years since KPMG, the PGA of America and the LPGA came together to recreate what was formerly known as the LPGA Championship.

White has few expectations. "I’m sure I’ll get to Sahalee," she said, "and be like ‘wow, these golf carts are unbelievable. Whoever power washes these things really does a great job.’ Usually if I’m going to sneak in nine holes, it’s kind of at the end of the day and the sun is going down. I know the cart kids are cleaning and it’s just you and the course and the serenity of the game."

White said she ultimately stopped playing professionally full-time because she was emotionally worn down from the travel and wasn’t as energetic and flexible as she’d been in her 20s. "I still feel like I can go play great golf," she said, "but can I do it five weeks in a row in someone else’s bed?"

Clearly though, this week is all about Korda, who swept all before her until missing the cut at the US Women’s Open.

Nelly Korda

Korda, a six-time winner this season, had a take on that missed cut that may surprise many people. She said that she was never more proud of herself this season than at the US Women’s Open, where she made a 10 on a par three in the opening round. 

"I’m not going to say that I was happy with the way I played," she said. "But I was happy with the way I fought. I fought really, really, hard to make the cut."

Korda took a week off after the US Women’s Open, skipping the ShopRite event. She relaxed for a few days, took her mind off the game, and then returned to action at the Meijer LPGA Classic, where she was far from at her best once again.

When asked if a disappointment such as the US Open made her even more motivated for the rest of 2024, Korda said: "Yeah, I mean, I love when golf humbles me. Not to that extent, but I do love when golf humbles me. Sometimes you ride the highs, but it’s always, in a sense, nice to know where you can improve, too.

"I love what I do for a living. I’m going to amazing places, playing in front of amazing crowds. There is no point to be miserable out there. Go out and have fun. Even if you’re not playing well. Sometimes you have to build a bridge and get over it."

You can be sure of one thing - Korda will not be missing the cut again this week. And she won this tournament three years ago too.

Twelve months ago, China's Ruoning Yin held her nerve to sink a 72nd-hole birdie to secure the trophy.

The 20-year-old was level with Japan's Yuka Saso on seven under heading to the par-five 18th. Yin calmly rolled in a fourth birdie of her final round to seal a first major title in New Jersey.

She shot a bogey-free 67 to finish eight under (276) overall, with Saso a shot back in second after she carded a final-round 66. "I knew I had to make birdie on that hole to win a championship, and I am glad I did it," said Yin. "I only missed six greens in four days I think so my course tracking was pretty good."

Tournament Winners:

It was won in 2017 by Danielle Kang, in 2018 by Sung Hyun Park, in 2019 by Hannah Green, in 2020 by Sei Young Kim, in 2021 by Nelly Korda, in 2022 by In Gee Chun and last year by Ruoning Yin.

The Course:

Sahalee hosted the 1998 US PGA, won by Vijay Singh. It was designed by Ted Robinson and remodelled by Rees Jones in 1997. It has featured in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses list for more than 20 years. The tree-lined fairways are narrow. It is a par 72 measuring 7,007 yards.

Form Guide:

Do not be too concerned by Nelly Korda’s recent slip in form. She is easily the best woman golfer on the planet and I will be astonished if she does not turn up with her A-game this week. I also have a feeling that the incredibly gifted Swedish golfer Linn Grant may have something to say about the outcome.

To Win:

Nelly Korda. The player to beat

Each Way:

Linn Grant. A major winner in waiting

Each Way:

Leona Maguire. Has it all

Five to Follow:

Nelly Korda. Looking to bounce back

Linn Grant. Can go really low

Leona Maguire. Ireland’s finest

Charley Hull. Has the game

Celine Boutier. Is there a better putter in the women’s game?


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Tags: lpga LET Golf Previews daily picks



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