Major Storylines Highlight Wild Back Nine at KPMG Women's PGA
While Ruoning Yin won her first major championship Sunday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, there were plenty of other major champions in the hunt late into the final round at Baltusrol.
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist made the cut on the number Friday by making birdie on her 16th hole of the day and then getting up and down on the last hole, converting a 10-footer for par to advance to the weekend.
The 36-year-old is a two-time major champion, including winning this Championship back in 2009, and she’s an assistant captain for Suzann Pettersen’s European Solheim Cup team later this year.
But first things first. Nordqvist was only 1 under after 10 holes in her third round on Saturday, then made five birdies over the last eight holes to shoot 66. On Sunday, she birdied the second, seventh and eighth holes to creep closer to the top of the leaderboard. It wasn’t until birdies on 10 and 12 when Nordqvist started to think victory was possible.
She birdied the 16th and 18th holes – making 13 birdies over the weekend – to shoot 65 and finish at 6-under total, which ended only one shot out of the playoff.
“This is my fifth week in a row, and I feel like I've been burning edges for four and a half weeks,” Nordqvist said. “It was finally nice to see some putts go in over the weekend.
“Just very proud of myself and my caddie how we've been working the last couple weeks and preparing and love major championships and I love when the pressure is the most. But definitely fun to have some momentum.”
Yuka Saso, who won the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open in a playoff at Olympic Club, shot a final-round 66 to finish second to Yin by a shot. She made five birdies between the seventh and 15th holes, the later coming from making a 30-footer. She bogeyed the 16th, missed an opportunity for birdie on the par-5 17th, then hit a stellar bunker shot on the par-5 18th hole to 2 feet and made it for birdie which tied Yin, until she later birdied the last hole to win.
“Yeah, I'm happy, but I feel like I still need to work on many stuff, so I'm not really fully satisfied,” Saso said. “But I'm happy that I was able to show some of the work that I've been putting in.”
Brooke Henderson, two-time major champion including the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA, tied for 15th place to keep a streak alive. She shot a final-round 69 on Sunday to finish inside the top-25 for the 12th straight time in a major. It’s her 22nd top-20 major finish since 2016.
Here is how other KPMG Women’s PGA champions who made the cut fared over the weekend: 2022 champion In Gee Chun shot 74-71-70-68 to tie for 24th place, 2019 champion Hannah Green shot 75-71-75-71 to tie for 68th place, 2018 winner Sung Hyun Park shot 73-74-77-75 to tie for 77th place and Danielle Kang, the 2017 champion, shot 75-71-73-68 to tie for 39th place.
Next year’s Championship will be at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash., host of the 2016 Championship where Henderson, then 18, shot a final-round 65, then topped Lydia Ko to win in a playoff.