The LPGA Tour travels to Aronimink Golf Club this week for the penultimate women's major of the year. Can Aussie Hannah Green successfully defend her Women’s PGA Championship title?
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Perth’s Hannah Green reached nine-under-par 279 at Hazeltine National last year, defeating South Korean Sung Hyun Park by one shot to claim her maiden major title.
COURSE: The layout at Aronimink Golf Club, located in Pennsylvania, was designed by acclaimed course architect Donald Ross and opened in 1928.
Ron Prichard began to restore the course in 2003 – eliminating overplanting and restoring playing lines – before the club approached world-renowned designer Gil Hanse, who recently added 100 bunkers, expanded greens and widened fairways to reflect aerial photographs of Ross' original design. Most significantly, there are now clusters of bunkers on holes, rather than one single bunker.
Aronimink stretches to 6,618 metres from the tips – but it will play to 6,246 metres and a par of 72 this week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Defending champ Hannah Green put on a short game masterclass to win this event at Hazeltine National last year, which was best exemplified by clutch her up-and-down out of a greenside bunker on the final hole.
The Western Australian was impressive in her title defence at the Portland Classic three weeks ago – finishing T12 after sharing the lead with six holes to play – and will be eager to become the eighth back-to-back champion of this event since its inception in 1955.
But outside of her title defence in Portland, Green hasn’t been playing her best golf since the Tour resumed from its coronavirus-enforced hiatus in July, posting just one other top-20 finish from five starts.
RIGHT: Green won her maiden major title at this event last year. PHOTO: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.
World No.2 Nelly Korda arrives in terrific form – having collected three consecutive top-5s, including her runner-up finish at the ANA Inspiration last month – and was T3 at this event last year.
The 22-year-old American has now accumulated four top-10s at the majors in the past three years and appears ready to join the major-winner’s circle. Korda is ranked fourth on Tour for driving distance, ninth for greens in regulation and 47th for her putting average, all of which should combine well at Aronimink this week.
Danielle Kang is another American in excellent form, sharing 11th and 12th places from her two most recent starts.
The World No.3 also recorded back-to-back victories at the Drive On Championship and Marathon Classic when the Tour restarted its season 10 weeks ago. Kang, 27, won this event at Olympia Fields in 2017 and shared fifth place last year.
72-HOLE RECORD: American Betsy King’s 267 shots in 1992 at Bethesda Country Club is the best tournament aggregate score, while Christie Kerr (2010), Yani Tseng (2011) and Inbee Park (2015) set the mark in relation to par (19 under).
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Hannah Green (2019), Karrie Webb (2001) and Jan Stephenson (1982).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Hannah Green, Sarah Kemp, Katherine Kirk, Minjee Lee, Su Oh and Sarah Jane Smith.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 4am – 8am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 4am – 8am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 2:30am – 6am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 506 LIVE 2:30am – 5am)
*AEDT, check local guides