KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Round Three
Credit: PGA of America via Getty Images

This time last year, Jennifer Kupcho, who had a stellar amateur record, still was chasing her first LPGA victory. Success doesn’t happen overnight. She would break through in her 62nd LPGA start, winning a major, no less, the Chevron Championship in Palm Springs.

She backed that up with a victory a week ago at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. Kupcho opened with a brilliant 63 there, but struggled with her ball striking on Saturday – still managing to shoot 69 – and early Sunday, before an eagle on the eighth hole got her kick-started. She won in a three-way playoff.

On Saturday at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, Kupcho played in the final threesome and struggled some, though her 2-over 74 still was the low round in her star-studded group with In Gee Chun and Lydia Ko. As a two-time winner, the extra confidence Kupcho carries into Sunday at. Congressional is something tangible.

“I mean, obviously, chasing a win is a lot different than having them under your belt,” she said earlier this week. “You have a lot more confidence when you are in contention to be able to actually follow through and win.”

KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Round Three
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 25: Jennifer Kupcho hits her shot from the 12th tee during the third round for the 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club on June 25, 2022 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America via Getty Images)
Credit: PGA of America via Getty Images

A long and powerful hitter, Kupcho straightened out her challenges with the driver this week by moving closer to the ball. Kupcho works with PGA Professional Ed Oldham of Colorado, and also is seeing the fruits of an offseason spent working to improve her putting. After ranking 17th in birdies a year ago, she entered the week No. 9 this season. On Friday she made seven birdies. She made three more on Saturday.

Kupcho began Saturday six shots behind In Gee Chun and begins Sunday five back. Even if she cannot come back to win, there are more things at stake with a high finish.

Kupcho, 25, came into the week ranked second in LPGA earnings and third in the Race to the CME Globe. She and Minjee Lee, the other major champion from 2022, are the only two players to have won twice this season. Does that get Kupcho thinking about potentially being LPGA Player of the Year?

“I know my parents are thinking about that,” Kupcho said, “but it definitely is not really crossing my mind at all.”

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