ADVERTISEMENT

Behind the Leaderboard: KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, A Look into the European Future | LPGA

ADVERTISEMENT

statistics

Two weeks later, In Gee Chun’s first round at the Congressional Country Club still doesn’t feel real.

On a day when the field scoring average was above 75.3, Chun topped that number by more than 11 strokes, scoring 64. Over the previous decade, no player in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship had beaten the average. field for more than 9.52 strokes in a single round. Chun almost bettered that by two.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chun carried a five-shot lead into the second round, tying Mickey Wright in 1961 for the largest 18-hole lead in championship history. Despite a par 75 over the weekend, Chun became only the fourth player in tournament history to lead outright after all four rounds, and the third woman from South Korea to win three or more majors.

Following next week’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, the LPGA Tour crosses the Atlantic for four consecutive major events in Europe. Among them, a couple of big championships: the Amundi Evian Championship which starts on July 21 in France and the AIG Women’s Open two weeks later in historic Muirfield.

Let’s take a look at the key numbers from Congress, then dive into what we can expect as we hit the gas into daylight saving time.

Conquering Congress

The numbers behind Chun’s thunderous Thursday get more ridiculous the deeper you dive. He hit every fairway and missed just three greens in regulation, racking up 6.65 strokes gained from tee to green, one more complete shot than any other player on the course that day. He won an even more ridiculous 6.82 strokes with his approach play, almost two full strokes more than any other player in any round all week in Congress.

In all, his shots won against the field in the first round made up a huge percentage of his totals for the week. 68% of his approach wins for the tournament came on Thursday, while 72% of his tee-to-green wins came in the first round.

Chun was not only excellent with his full swings on day one, but he was also red hot on the greens, needing only 25 putts for the day. Chun won 4.37 strokes on the course from the greens in the first round, the second-highest total of any player on the course. Only Agathe Laisne (5.55 putts gained) had more. The brilliance of Chun’s performance over two rounds carrying the water for a tougher weekend is more apparent when looking at his putting numbers: in two rounds, Chun won 7.06 field putting strokes. Over the weekend, he won -3.02 strokes on the greens.

His brilliant play over two days gave him the cushion he needed for the weekend’s fight against Congressional. As his closing 75 was the highest final score by a major championship winner since Inbee Park at this same championship nine years earlier. Park posted a closing 75 at Locust Hill before beating Catriona Matthew in a playoff. It would be the first of three consecutive KPMG Women’s PGA Championship wins for Park.

Numbers to know from DC

*Minjee Lee led the field in Congress in approach shots gained, something she is quite familiar with on the LPGA Tour in 2022. For the week, she won 11.98 strokes with her approach shots, roughly seven-tenths of a stroke more than Lauren Coughlin. she who finished second in the statistics. For the season, Lee is averaging 2.68 approach shots gained per round, the highest rate of any player on the LPGA Tour. Second best? In Ge Chun.

*Hannah Green led the field in strokes earned at Congressional, racking up multiple strokes on the field in that stat in each of the first three rounds. Stephanie Meadow and Atthaya Thitikul rounded out the top three in that stat for the championship. Green finished tied for fifth in the final standings, her second top-10 finish at a major championship in 2022. She tied for eighth at The Chevron Championship earlier this season in California.

*The course leader in shots won off the tee for the week at Congress was Bianca Pagdanganan, who won over five and a half shots on the course with tee shots for the championship. Lexi Thompson finished fourth for the week, one of only four players to average a completed stroke win or more per round off the tee over the course of the full 72 holes. Thompson’s runner-up finish was her fourth in the majors since 2015, the most by any player in that span.

Heading into the Amundi Evian Championship

*At last summer’s Amundi Evian Championships, Minjee Lee’s putter got hotter as the week progressed. After losing 1.37 strokes against the course on the greens in his first round 68, Lee won more than 6 1/2 strokes in the last three days combined. That culminated in a final round 64 where she was seven of eight putting from 5 to 10 feet away.

round 1 -1.37
round 2 +1.60
Round 3 +2.02
Round 4 +2.91

Lee’s shots gained profile in his win at Amundi Evian was relatively balanced, winning 35.1% of his shots against the course with his approach play and 30.1% with his putt. She compares that to her win at the US Women’s Open in June, where her blistering putter won 42.2 percent of her strokes and approach play accounted for 33.8%.

Lee will undoubtedly be one of the favorites in France, and not just because she is the defending champion. In her last five starts in major championships, Lee has finished no worse than 12th, racking up four top-five finishes and a combined score on par with 52-under.

*Jeongeun Lee6 suffered playoff heartbreak at the hands of Lee last year at Evian Resort Golf Club, but his resume at the event lends optimism to his hopes of winning this year. In three career starts for her, she finished tied for sixth and second. Her career scoring average of 68.5 is the best of any player with 10 or more rounds played since the Amundi Evian Championship became a major nine years ago.

*In eight races in the Amundi Evian Championship, Lydia Ko has finished outside the top 10, just twice. Ko is a combined 46-under in the event since 2013, the best cumulative score of any player. Ko has been the best putter on the LPGA Tour this season: at 1.45 stroke gains per round, she’s averaging more than two-tenths of a stroke more than any other player in 2022. If you like more traditional numbers, she’s rated T4 on the course this season in putts per regulation green.

*Evian Resort Golf Club generally scores the lowest of any major championship venue in women’s golf. Since 2013, the average par win score there is 14 under par, the lowest among the five major championships in that span. Second lowest in that stretch is the Chevron Championship, at 13.6 under par. Since this tournament became a major event in 2013, there has only been one instance where he has won single digits under par: that was in 2017, when the event was shortened to 54 holes due to weather.

sniloans