Dark Horses Who Could Make a Major Run at Baltusrol
It’s easy to like the chances of Nelly Korda, Brooke Henderson, and Hannah Green at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club . They’re all top-ranked players who have won the major championship in prior years and have all won in the last 12 months on the LPGA Tour.
But as the competition continues to grow deeper on tour, with only two repeat winners so far this season, there are more than a handful of players who could win the second major championship of the season. Here are some of the dark horses who could jump up and win at Baltusrol.
It’s tough to consider a major champion like Asheligh Buhai a dark horse, but she’s largely flown under the radar while quietly climbing to the top of the women’s game. The South African earned her breakthrough win at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield in 2022. It wasn’t just her first major title but also her first victory on the LPGA Tour. Since that major victory she racked up two more worldwide wins at the South African Women’s Open and Australian Open, and then added a second LPGA title at the ShopRite LPGA Classic last week.
Through the Mizuho Americas Open, Buhai ranked inside the top 10 on tour in Birdies, Rounds Under Par, and Putts Per G.I.R., which makes her a player to watch on the tough greens of the Lower Course at Baltusrol.
It’s only a matter of time before Nasa Hatoaka wins a major championship. She’s continued to put herself in the mix in the biggest events of the year, racking up seven top 10s in major championships, with three of those top finishes coming at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Hataoka sits inside the top 15 in the Rolex Rankings, making her one of the top-ranked players on tour who has yet to win a major title.
During the 2023 LPGA Tour season, Cheyenne Knight has been a fixture on leaderboards. She recorded a top-20 finish at the season’s first major, the Chevron Championship.She’ll look to build on that success in Texas where she picked up one of her best finishes in a major championship. Between the Chevron Championship and the Mizuho Americas Open, Knight hasn’t finished worse than 13th on the LPGA Tour.
Since 2022, Linn Grant has won eight times worldwide, including a breakout performance at the Volvo Car Scandanavian Mixed, where she became the first female to win an event on the DP World Tour. In May at the Bank of Hope Match Play, Grant made her much anticipated rookie debut on U.S. soil as she wasn’t able to play in the States previously due to her COVID vaccination status. She made a splash in her return, finishing third at the match play. Grant will make just her sixth major start at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol where she will also be making her tournament debut.