5 storylines to watch at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

rose zhang swings

The second women's major of the year is upon us as the LPGA's best tee it up at Baltusrol for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

Getty Images

Major championship golf is back yet again this week. After a thrilling tournament out in Los Angeles for the men, the women take center stage this week in New Jersey for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

For the first time since 1985, Baltusrol Golf Club will host the top ladies in the game for a major championship. Balty’s Lower Course — home of 2005 and 2016 PGA Championship — will be on display as the likes of Nelly Korda, Rose Zhang, Lydia Ko and others compete for the crown.

Here are five storylines to watch this week in New Jersey.

Rose Zhang tries to keep the momentum rolling

rose zhang looks
Rose Zhang won the Mizuho Americas Open in her pro debut earlier this month. Getty Images

Rose Zhang took the golf world by storm earlier this month when she won the Mizuho Americas Open in her professional debut. This week, the 20-year-old budding superstar returns to pro golf looking to keep the momentum rolling.

This won’t be the first time Zhang has played in a major. As an amateur, she made nine starts in majors, including winning low amateur honors at the Chevron Championship and AIG Women’s Open. However, this will be the first time the 20-year-old has teed it up in one of golf’s biggest events as a pro.

So far in her pro career, Zhang has a 1.000 winning percentage, and she enters this week as one of the favorites. If she can replicate her success from Liberty National, it will take her stardom to a whole new level.

Nelly Korda returns

Nelly Korda hits an approach shot to the 18th green at Baltusrol Golf Club's Lower Course during a practice round for the KPMG Women's PGA on Tuesday, June 20.
Nelly Korda returns to action this week after taking time off with a back injury. Jack Hirsh/GOLF

Nelly Korda’s health has been a big story for the last several years, and for all the wrong reasons. She withdrew from the Women’s PGA in 2020 and missed more than two months dealing with the ailment. Last season, she had surgery to remove a blood clot in her arm that also forced her out of action for several months. And, just four weeks ago, Korda was forced to miss the Mizuho Americas Open with another back ailment.

She returns to action this week for the first time since the latest injury, and even hinted that the time off may have been a good thing. But without the competitive reps heading into the year’s second major, it’s impossible to say how she’ll respond. She’s got six top 10s in eight starts so far this season, but she’s yet to secure a victory. Will this be the week she returns to the top of the golf world?

Lydia Ko searches for her old form

Lydia Ko
Lydia Ko has struggled in 2023. Getty Images

Lydia Ko ended 2022 as the top-ranked player in the world, but the time since has been a relative struggle. After winning three times last season, she’s yet to earn a victory on the LPGA Tour this year, and she missed the cut in the year’s first major. She also missed the cut last week at the Meijer Classic and has not finished in the top 10 on the LPGA circuit since January.

Ko went through many changes after her success last season, including splits with her coach Sean Foley and caddie. Thus far, those changes seem to be a net negative in her pursuit back to World No. 1. But if she can add major No. 3 to her resume this week, all the missteps will be forgotten.

Lexi Thompson looks to get over the hump

lexi thompson wipes mouth
Lexi Thompson has experienced plenty of heartbreak in majors lately. Getty Images

Lexi Thompson is one of the biggest names in women’s golf, but in recent years, she’s struggled to find the winner’s circle. Her last LPGA victory was more than four years ago, and the anniversary of her lone major title is nearing a decade.

That’s not to say Thompson hasn’t been close. She’s had agonizing losses at the U.S. Women’s Open and Women’s PGA over the last two summers, both of which she led on the back nine. Scar tissue is obviously present, but if she can finally get over the hump, it will do wonders for her legacy.

In Gee Chun bids for a repeat

in gee chun kisses the trophy.
In Gee Chun won the KPMG Women’s PGA last summer. Getty Images

In Gee Chun has only won four times on the LPGA Tour, but three of those wins have come at majors, including a thrilling victory last summer at Congressional. Something about golf’s biggest events just seems to bring out the best in her game.

Chun has not won since her triumph last summer, but her form in majors has still been quite good. She finished runner-up at the AIG Women’s Open, and has registered three other top 25s at majors since the Congressional win. Chun’s name is certainly one to keep an eye on as the women’s major season ramps up.

Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.

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