The third major championship of the season featured a newly transformed blue course at Congressional Country Club in what was a series of firsts – the first time the club had hosted a women’s major; the first time the redesigned course had hosted a major competition; and the first time Congress has hosted the best players in the world since the US Open in 2011.
Congress returned to the competition to rave reviews as it produced a long and tough test that challenged every club in the bag. It won’t be long before the world’s best descend on Congress as the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship marked the start of a nine-event partnership between the PGA of America and the club, which will host the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup , and see the return of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in the years to come.
For much of the week, it was In Gee Chun who seemed poised to return to the top of the women’s game. She suffered from back pain and depression and had been winless on the LPGA Tour since 2018. And it had been six years since the two-time major champion won one of women’s football’s biggest trophies. But when Chun opened with a dazzling 8 under par 64 in Congress that left the rest of the field in awe, it looked like she might be back. But Lexi Thompson was looking for her own comeback.
Thompson, who has dealt with her fair share of heartbreak on the golf course, recently suffered heartbreak away from the game with the recent loss of her grandmother, Mimi. In Congress, Thompson tried to use that loss as motivation, and her grandmother’s passing gave her a renewed perspective as she tried to be less critical of her mistakes and sought to view her time in competition as a blessing.
On Sunday, Thompson mounted a final-round charge to take a two-stroke lead midway through the final round, but her short game grounded her down the home stretch to allow Chun to regain a one-stroke lead heading of the 72nd hole. Chun rolled in a final par putt to cement his comeback status and claim his third major title and fourth victory on the LPGA Tour. Thompson finished second for his sixth top 10 of the season.
KPMG’s PGA Women’s Championship caps a five-week streak that has seen more than one comeback as some of the biggest names in the women’s game have returned to the winner’s circle on the LPGA Tour.
Eun Hee Ji won the five-day gauntlet known as the Bank of Hope Match Play to win for the first time since 2019.
The following week, the Tour traveled to Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club for the US Women’s Open. It was there that the Tour welcomed the return of Nelly Korda to competition for the first time since February when she had stepped away from the game to undergo surgery to remove a blood clot in her arm. And it was Minjee Lee who emerged victorious as the third Australian player to win the US Women’s Open.
The following week, Brooke Henderson earned her first victory of the season at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, where she came back from four strokes back to win on Sunday.
Then the Tour returned to the Meijer LPGA Classic where a three-way elimination ensued between Korda, Jennifer Kupcho and Leona Maguire. It was Kupcho who emerged victorious from the second hole of the playoffs to claim her second victory in as many months.
The LPGA Tour is taking a two-week break before returning to competition for one of the most fun events on the schedule, the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational where the Jutanugarn sisters seek to defend their title. Then the final march to the last two major tournaments of the season begins with the Amundi Evian Championship and the AIG Women’s Open on the horizon.
Everyone loves a good comeback story and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship produced one of the best as Congress joined the major championship rotation and In Gee Chun cemented her place, once again, at the top of the female game.