Past Champions in the Mix at 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship
Sei Young Kim is one of a handful of past champions at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship who are in the mix after the first day at Congressional Country Club.
Kim – along with Brooke Henderson, Nelly Korda, and Hannah Green – fired 1-under-par 71. The trio is part of the group tied for sixth after 18 holes.
Kim, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA in 2020, said since there was so much rain overnight in the area, the golf course was playing long and different to what she had prepared for.
She was pleased with her under-par opener.
“It’s a totally different golf course I feel like. My strategy is different,” said Kim about the first round versus the conditions during her practice rounds. “But the course is a really good setup. Good testing of the golf this week. Yeah, really nice golf course.”
Kim has never finished worse than 25th at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship despite the fact that the venue is different every year.
“KPMG always picks a really good course and makes me (motivated),” she said. “More focus this week. Every KPMG week. I’m always excited to play KPMG.”
Henderson and Korda were paired together with another past KPMG Women’s PGA Champion, Inbee Park. Both the past champions – Henderson in 2016 and Korda last year – were coming into the week playing some very solid golf.
Henderson won two weeks ago at the ShopRite LPGA Classic while Korda lost in a playoff last week at the Meijer LPGA Classic.
The Canadian made three bogeys in a row on her front nine but bounced back with three birdies on her back nine to get back to red figures for the day.
“Any time you're under par in a major championship, you know you're in a good spot, and you are doing things right,” said Henderson, who at 1 under is seven shots back of In Gee Chun’s first-round lead.
“Of course, seeing her so far up ahead of everybody, it makes you want to make a few more birdies, so hopefully just get off to a fast start tomorrow afternoon. Very happy to come back after those three bogeys and happy to be under par.”
Hannah Green is also at 1 under after the first round along with Jennifer Kupcho, who defeated Korda and Leona Maguire in the Meijer LPGA Classic playoff Sunday.
Green, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2019, birdied No’s 16 and 17 to close out her day and get under par.
“It definitely helps the momentum going into tomorrow,” said Green. I'm still trying to shoot for 2- or 3-under a day. I think that will still climb me up there.”
Despite a handful of past champions feeling positive with their first-round positions, they’re all still chasing the record-setting effort by Chun, who is now the holder of the course record at Congressional’s Blue Course.
“I don’t know what golf course she’s playing,” said Green with a smile. “We were looking at the scores, and we were, like, ‘Oh, wow, okay. 5-under par, but still tough on the back nine,’ and to hear that she's 8, I'm, like, ‘Wow, that's impressive.’ That's like shooting 10-under out here.”
But if there’s any group of golfers that know what it will take to climb the leaderboard at the KPMG Women’s PGA it’s certainly those who have won this championship before.