Nelly Korda, Minjee Lee among the top players aiming for first major at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship
Winning a Major Championship is hard.
Winning the first one is arguably even harder.
There are a handful of top players looking to break through at this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa. The list of challengers starts with Nelly Korda and Minjee Lee and extends to Carlota Ciganda, Nasa Hataoka and others. Current LPGA Tour stars like Brooke Henderson (2016) and Danielle Kang (2017) used wins at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship as springboards to their careers. Korda and Lee, two of the pre-Championship favorites ranked among the top five players in the world, talked about the chase for their first Major Championship victories at Tuesday’s press conferences.
Korda is in position, with a good showing, to become the No. 1 golfer in the world in the Rolex Rankings. The World No. 2 is trying not to put too much pressure on herself in both pursuits. Korda tees off with two-time former World No. 1 Lydia Ko and Charley Hull at 1:01 p.m. Thursday and 8:21 a.m. Friday.
“I'm not thinking about it too much,” she said when asked about the Rolex Rankings. “Obviously, it (being world No. 1) is a goal of mine in my golfing career, but honestly, I feel like if you set smaller goals you'll eventually get to the bigger goals. I'm just focusing on the smaller goals.”
Korda, 22, who has three career victories, came closest to winning her first major at the 2020 ANA Inspiration, finishing in a tie for second following a three-person playoff. She’s coming off a fifth-place showing at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, one of four top 10s this season.
Lee, 24, who tees off at 1:23 p.m. Thursday and 8:43 a.m. Friday, admits she’s probably been her own worst enemy when it comes to closing out a major strong.
“It's been a really big goal of mine for the last couple years,” she said. “I've really tried to peak in those events, but I feel like maybe I get in my own way a little bit. I feel like I'm getting better, getting a little bit better results when I come to majors, so this week hopefully I get out of my own way and just play some golf.”
Lee boasts five career victories and ranks among the LPGA Tour’s most consistent performers. Lee likes what she’s seen of Aronimink after a practice round Tuesday morning.
“It's such a lovely track,” she said. “Wide fairways, probably not that much rough. The greens are big, as well. I think it'll definitely benefit the long hitters, but I think getting the speed right on the greens I think will be the main key here, and obviously chipping around the greens if you do miss.”