KPMG Performance Insights: Can In Gee Chun Go Wire-to-Wire?
Ever since In Gee Chun fired a course-record 64 Thursday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, she’s been adding her name to the history books.
And now she’s on the cusp of winning a third Major Championship.
Chun, who leads by three heading into Sunday’s finale at Congressional Country Club, is seeking to become the fourth wire-to-wire winner (no ties) in this Championship’s history – according to KPMG Performance Insights.
But there’s a solid group of chasers looking to win the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, too.
In perhaps a dubious accomplishment, there have been five golfers who have led after the first three rounds of this championship, according to KPMG Performance Insights, and did not go on to win – the most recent being Beth Daniel in 2002.
Thirty-five of the last 37 women’s major champions have been inside the top five entering the final round.
“I'm so excited and looking forward to an exciting final round already,” said Chun after her Saturday round.
Chun opened the door to the chasing pack after she made an unfortunate double bogey on the par-5 16th Saturday.
At 3:45 p.m. EST on Saturday there were zero golfers within four shots of her lead and only three within five. Fifteen minutes later there were five golfers within four shots and nine golfers within five. It, per KPMG Performance Insights, was a big turning point on the day.
The chasing pack is chock-full of experienced winners, including past KPMG Women’s PGA Champions.
A comeback is certainly not an impossible task, according to KPMG Performance Insights. Over the last 15 years, three players have come from three or more strokes back entering the final round to win this championship. The last was Sung Hyun Park in 2018.
Even at last month’s PGA Championship, there was an epic comeback, as Justin Thomas eliminated a seven-shot deficient to win his second Wanamaker Trophy.
Chun is the fourth player, according to KPMG Performance Insights, in the last 15 years to lead this championship by three-or-more shots through 54 holes. Cristie Kerr (2010) and Yani Tseng (2011) would go on to win by double-digit margins. So Yeon Ryu led by three in 2018 and would go on to finish tied for second.
The largest 54-hole deficit to win any women’s major since 2010 was seven shots by Minjee Lee at the 2021 Evian Championship.
Keep an eye out for Sei Young Kim on Sunday.
Kim, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2020, leads the field in Strokes Gained: Around the Green this week. She’s also among the leaders with respect to under-par scores at majors over the last two seasons.
She’s also, according to KPMG Performance Insights, a combined 113 strokes under par in majors since the beginning of 2015, the best sum of any player in that timeframe.
Kim, Atthaya Thitikul, and fellow past winner Hannah Green will make up the penultimate grouping for Sunday’s final round while Chun, Hye-Jin Choi, and Lexi Thompson are this championship’s final group.
Thompson, who is also 5 under through 54 holes, is amongst the leaders on the LPGA Tour in terms of final-round scoring average at major championships over the last five years.
But no matter who is holding the lead – or close to it – by the time the sun begins to set at Congressional Country Club, they’ll have to navigate some of the trickiest holes of the week to get it into the house.
Per KPMG Performance Insights, the 15th hole is playing the third-hardest of the week, while the par-4 18th is ranked as the most difficult hole at this year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
KPMG Performance Insights have shown that Chun’s three-shot lead is going to be difficult to overcome.
Difficult, but not impossible.
It should be an exciting final day at the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.