Americans have been the predominant winners of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Over the course of the championship’s storied history, which dates back to the mid 1950s, the championship has been won 41 times by players from the United States. However, as the LPGA Tour’s global influence has grown, so have the number of international players. Just two Americans have won the championship during the last decade, but there is a growing number of new American players who are contending week in and week out on Tour and will be chasing their first major title at Hazeltine National Golf Club.
Already a multiple winner in her first three years as a member of the LPGA Tour, Nelly Korda has quickly become the torchbearer for the Americans. Nelly, the younger sister of fellow LPGA member Jessica, has surged to the top of the Rolex Rankings and become the top-ranked American in the world. Her consistency on Tour has resulted in nearly two-dozen top 10s and two victories. As Nelly has grown more comfortable on Tour, so has her presence in major championships. She recorded her first top 10 in a major at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open and will be the American to watch at Hazeltine as she looks to capture her first major title.
A five-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Jessica Korda has enjoyed a resurgence over the last year on Tour. During the 2017 off-season, Jessica underwent extensive jaw surgery to alleviate pain she had been playing with for years. Since the surgery, Jessica has played some of the best golf of her career. She won in her first event back on Tour and finished inside the top 10 in 3 of the 5 majors of 2018, including T4 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. As the American fights to keep pace with her sister, a major victory is the missing piece in what has already been an impressive career.
Since capturing her first win on Tour at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship, Lizette Salas has come close on multiple occasions to returning to the winner’s circle. In 2018, Salas recorded four top 10s, which included a run on the weekend at Kemper Lakes Golf Club to finish T8 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The solid performance was just the second top 10 Salas has recorded in a major, but a confidence boost nonetheless for the three-time Solheim Cup member who is looking to add her first major title to her resume.
Since joining the Tour in 2017, Angel Yin has been a player to watch. With an entertaining personality and a game to match, it’s only a matter of time before Yin captures a win on American soil. She already has the priceless experience of knowing what it takes win, having won on the Ladies European Tour. Since her rookie season, Yin has put herself in contention in the majors, most notably showing off her short game prowess with an impressive hole out from the water at the 18th hole at Kemper Lakes Golf Club to record a top 5 finish at the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. As Yin grows more comfortable on golf’s biggest stage, victories and major titles will inevitably follow.
Coming off her career best season on the LPGA Tour, Marina Alex added her name to a short list of Americans who will be in pursuit of a first major title in 2019. During the 2018 season, Alex recorded five top 10s and picked up her first victory on Tour. While Alex hasn’t often contended in the majors since joining the Tour in 2013, she’s continued to ride the confidence of getting her first win into the 2019 season and the consistency she’s displayed makes her one of the up and coming Americans to watch at Hazeltine.