KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: The favourites

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The second major of the LPGA calendar, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, gets underway this weekend at Olympia Fields Country Club just outside of Chicago.

The cream of women’s golf will go up against each other over four rounds in Illinois as they contend for the prestigious trophy and prize money totalling $3.5 million.

FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the contenders for major glory.

So Yeon Ryu

The new world number one comes into the tournament in red-hot form having won last week in Arkansas for her second victory of the year, a result that saw her take over from Ariya Jutanugarn at the top of the LPGA pile.

Ryu’s other win just happened to be the year’s first major, where she defeated Lexi Thompson in a playoff. That win ended a three-year wait for a win for Ryu, but don’t let that fool you. The Korean is a model of consistency and rarely finishes outside the Top 10 of any tournament, meaning she is sure to be there or thereabouts on Sunday.

Ariya Jutanugarn

The Thai player has been in phenomenal form over the last year, winning six tournaments including her first major at last year’s British Open.

Jutanugarn also won in her last appearance on the LPGA two weeks ago, winning the Manulife Classic in a playoff to earn a short-lived spell at the the top of the world rankings – the first player from Southeast Asia to do so.

The 21-year old is bang in form and will start at Olympia Fields confident of winning her second major.

Lexi Thompson

If anyone deserves to win a major this year then it is the 22-year old American. Thompson was denied what looked a certain victory at the ANA Inspiration back in April in controversial fashion when she was deducted four strokes in the middle of her final round after a TV viewer notified officials of an offence that had taken place a day earlier. She then lost in a playoff to Ryu.

Credit to Thompson, she didn’t let the controversy destroy her and bounced back a few weeks later with a win at the Kingsmill Championship – the eighth LPGA title of her fledgling career.

Thompson is also in form, losing out to Jutanugarn in a playoff earlier this month, and few would bet against her exacting revenge for the ANA debacle.

Michelle Wie

The lanky American and former teen sensation is winless since her sole major success back at the 2014 US Open, but has shown signs of hitting form at just the right time ahead of this weekend.

Four top-four finishes in her last five LPGA events and a final round 64 at Arkansas last week means she arrives in Chicago in top form.

Swing coach David Leadbetter put the field on notice earlier this week when he said: “There’s no doubt in my mind she’s going to win soon.”

With that kind of backing, major number two is a serious possibility for the likeable 27-year old.

Honourable mentions

Lydia Ko

It’s been a disappointing year so far for former number one Lydia Ko, who recently lost her top spot after taking a short break from the tour.

After a superb three year streak that saw her claim 12 LPGA title including 2 majors, Ko is winless so far in 2017, but that doesn’t mean you should count her out this weekend.

Brooke Henderson

The defending champion cannot be overlooked, as she showed just how dangerous she can be with a surprise win at the Meijer Classic earlier this month – her first in a year. The 19-year will certainly be in with a shout come Sunday.

Inbee Park

The dominant player on the tour from 2013-2015 has been out of the spotlight in recent months following surgery to a troublesome thumb injury.

She got back in the winning groove in March this year at the HSBC Championship, while as a three-time winner of this trophy she knows exactly what is required.