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Odds and Ends

Stakes even higher as Nelly Korda defends KPMG Women's PGA title

by Lisa Antonucci
Updated On: June 22, 2022, 2:54 pm ET

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While the stakes were already high at the famed Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., for this week’s third LPGA major of the year, they were raised even higher on Tuesday when it was announced the purse for the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship would double to $9 million.

The increase in prize money for the women’s second-oldest major is a 300-percent increase from 2014, the year before KPMG and the PGA of America partnered with the LPGA to increase the event’s prize purse and raise the tournament’s profile by taking it to fabled courses. It also nearly matches the purse for the recent U.S. Women’s Open, which jumped to $10 million for the 2022 edition at Pine Needles and awarded winner Minjee Lee $1.8 million.

This week’s winner at Congressional, which has hosted three men’s U.S. Opens, are competing for a $1.35 million first-place prize, and chief among them are pre-tournament betting favorites, world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and defending champion and world No. 2 Nelly Korda. Ko and Korda lead the market, listed at +900 via PointsBet Sportsbook, and following closely behind is New Zealand’s world No. 4 Lydia Ko at +1100, with Minjee Lee at +1300, Lexi Thompson at +1500 and recent ShopRite LPGA Classic winner Brooke Henderson at +1600 to round out the top contenders this week.  

This week marks a full-circle moment of sorts for Korda, who captured her first major championship at the 2021 KPMG at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga., beating Lizette Salas by three strokes and ascending to No. 1 in the world ranking. Last year, Korda came in off a win at Meijer LPGA Classic, and this year, she arrives in Maryland off another strong showing in Blythefield Country Club in Michigan, where she finished T-2 after losing in a playoff to Jennifer Kupcho (+4000), winner of the year’s first major, the Chevron Championship.

But a lot has happened over the last few months for Korda, who was diagnosed with a blood clot in her left arm in March, forcing her to step away from competition for two months. She returned at the U.S. Women's Open and finished T-8, and she held the 54-hole lead last week before falling in the playoff.

"Ever since I started hitting, it's just been kind of full throttle, and I have been practicing pretty much – I have not taken more than two or three days off since then," said Korda, who finished off last season with one more LPGA title – at the Pelican Women’s Championship – and captured the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

"I'm just happy to be out here playing competitive golf. I gave myself a chance last week. If you told me that when I was laying in the ER, I would have definitely been very happy with that." 

Heading into the week, Korda is one of just seven players this season with positive Strokes Gained values in each of the following categories: Off the Tee (+0.94), Approach (+0.39), Around the Green (+0.57) and Putting (+0.52). 

The 23-year-old Korda will look to join Mickey Wright (1960-61), Patty Sheehan (1983-84) and Juli Inkster (1999-2000) as the only players to successfully defend their Women’s PGA titles. Just two players – Annika Sorenstam (2003-04-05) and Inbee Park (2013-14-15) – have won the event in three consecutive years.

This year’s field boasts 18 of the top 20 players in the Rolex Rankings, with Danielle Kang, at No. 13, as the highest-ranked player not in the field. The field of 156 players will be cut to the top 60 plus ties after 36 holes.

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Odds to win 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (via PointsBet Sportsbook):

  • +900: Nelly Korda, Jin Young Ko
  • +1100: Lydia Ko 
  • +1300: Minjee Lee 
  • +1500: Lexi Thompson
  • +1600: Brooke Henderson 
  • +2200: Atthaya Thitikul
  • +3000: Jessica Korda, Hye Jin Choi
  • +3300: Xiyu Lin, Leona Maguire, Nasa Hataoka
  • +4000: In-Bee Park, Megan Khang, Hyo Joo Kim, Celine Boutier, Hannah Green, Jennifer Kupcho  +5000: Charley Hull, Madelene Sagstrom, Jeongeun Lee6

About Congressional, site of the 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship

The 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA will be held on Congressional’s Blue Course, the club’s original 18-hole layout. It was originally designed by Devereaux Emmett in 1922 and completed in 1924 but because of several redesigns in the decades since, much of Emmett’s influence was removed and altered. Credited re-designers include Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Rees Jones. Most recently Andrew Green oversaw a complete renovation of the course, which was was completed in 2021 and brought the venue back in line with Emmett’s original work.

Created in 1921 so that Members of Congress could meet socially with business leaders, the club was founded by Indiana representatives Oscar R. Luhring and Oscar E. Bland as a place for government officials to mingle with other leaders and businessmen. Then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover (who became president in 1929) was the club’s first president in 1922, and honorary lifetime memberships were awarded to Hoover, then-President Warren G. Harding, and former Presidents William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson.

Congressional’s championship resume includes the 1976 PGA Championship (won by Dave Stockton) and a trio of U.S. Opens (2011: Rory McIlroy, 1997: Ernie Els, 1964: Ken Venturi). Congressional also has hosted the 1995 U.S. Senior Open, 1959 U.S. Women’s Amateur and three PGA Tour events.

The course will play as a par 72, stretching 6,896 yards. For members, the course can play up to 7,818 yards from the tips and as short as to 5,155 yards from the forward tees. Green’s restoration expanded the fairway acreage from 25 to 46 acres, and the new greens are larger as well, allowing for more varied hole locations. The course now features 139 bunkers (there had been less than 100 previously), three water hazards that come into play on four holes.

This is the seventh consecutive year that the Women’s PGA will be played at a venue that previously held a men’s major, the tournament’s return to Maryland marks the 12th time the event will be played in the state, which most recently hosted in 2009 at Bulle Rock Golf Club (and won by Anna Nordqvist). 

Congressional is scheduled to host the KPMG again in 2027, with other future sites including Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., in 2023, and the PGA of America’s future headquarters in Frisco, Texas, which is scheduled to host in 2025 and 2031.

2022 LPGA major championship schedule (winner/defending champion):

  • March 31-April 3: Chevron Championship; 2022 champion: Jennifer Kupcho; Mission Hills CC (Dinah Shore Tournament Course), Rancho Mirage, Calif. 
  • June 2-5: U.S. Women’s Open, 2022 champion: Minjee Lee; Pine Needles Lodge & GC, Southern Pines, N.C. 
  • June 23-26: KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Congressional CC, Bethesda, Md. (Nelly Korda)
  • July 21-24: Amundi Evian Championship, Evian Resort GC, Evian-les-Bains, France (Minjee Lee)
  • Aug. 4-7: AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield, East Lothian, Scotland (Anna Nordqvist)

Last year at the 67th KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: 

Nelly Korda captured her sixth career LPGA victory and first major title at the 2021 KMPG Women’s PGA Championship, tying a tournament record at 19-under-par 269 and beating fellow American Lizette Salas by three strokes at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

After opening with a 2-under 72, a then-22-year-old Korda moved into contention with a 9-under 63 in the second round, which featured a streak of six consecutive birdies and gave her a one-stroke lead over Salas heading into the weekend. Following a 68 on Saturday, Korda shared the 54-hole lead with Salas, and the two started the final round five strokes clear of the field.

Sunday remained a two-woman tussle for most of the day, with Korda gaining an edge with an eagle at the par-5 fifth. She converted her advantage into a three-stroke swing when Salas made bogey at the par-5 12th and Korda made her second eagle of the day. A birdie at 14 provided enough cushion to soften the blow of a double bogey at the par-3 15th, and Korda closed out with three pars for 4-under 68 and her first major title.

The win marked her second consecutive win in 2021 and her third of the season, vaulting Korda to No. 1 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings. She became the first American to hold the top spot since Stacy Lewis in 2014.

Past winners of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (venue, winning score, margin over runner up)

  • 2021: Nelly Korda; Atlanta Athletic Club, Johns Creek, Ga.; 19-under 269; three strokes over Lizette Salas
  • 2020: Sei Young Kim (South Korea), Aronimink Golf Club, Newtown Square, Penn.; 14-under 266; five strokes over Inbee Park
  • 2019: Hannah Green (Australia); Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn.; 9-under 279; one strokes over Sung Hyun Park (South Korea)
  • 2018: Sung Hyun Park (South Korea); Kemper Lakes Golf Club, Kildeer, Ill., 10-under 278; won in playoff over Nasa Hataoka (Japan) and So Yeon Ryu (South Korea)
  • 2017: Danielle Kang; Olympia Fields Golf Club (North Course), Olympia Fields, Ill.; 13-under 271; one strokes over Brooke Henderson (Canada)
  • 2016: Brooke Henderson (Canada); Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, Wash.; 6-under 278; won in playoff over Lydia Ko (New Zealand)
  • 2015: Inbee Park (South Korea); Westchester Country Club (West Course), Harrison, N.Y.; 19-under 273; five strokes over Sei Young Kim (South Korea)
  • 2014: Inbee Park (South Korea); Monroe Golf Club, Pittsford, N.Y.; 11-under 277; won in playoff over Brittany Lincicome
  • 2013: Inbee Park (South Korea); Locust Hill Country Club, Pittsford, N.Y.; 5-under 283; won in playoff over Catriona Matthew (Scotland)
  • 2012: Shanshan Feng (China); Locust Hill Country Club, Pittsford, N.Y.; 6-under 282; two strokes over Mika Miyazato (Japan), Stacy Lewis (USA), Suzann Pettersen (Sweden), Eun-Hee Ji (South Korea)
  • 2011: Yani Tseng (Taiwan); Locust Hill Country Club, Pittsford, N.Y.; 19-under 269; 10 strokes over Morgan Pressel

Picks to win the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: 

Best bet: Jin Young Ko (+900) …Korda’s obvious choice as a pick to win was covered above, so let’s talk more about Ko: She’s ranked third on the LPGA in scoring average in major championships going back to 2017, at 70.85. Only Sei Young Kim (70.63) and Inbee Park (70.82) have a better scoring average in that span. She has five top-five finishes in majors since 2019, tied for most of anyone in that span; and she currently ranks fourth on tour in Strokes Gained: Total while averaging 2.14. Bonus bet: Lexi Thompson (+1500) …It's only a matter of time before Thompson wins a tournament given her recent form. No player has hit more greens in regulation this season than Thompson (76.5 %) and she has 12 top-five finishes in the majors since 2013, tied for second-most in that span. She also ranks third in SG: Total at 2.34.

Dark horse: Jessica Korda (+3000): The sister of last year's champion, Nelly Korda, has finished in the top-10 in three of six events in 2022 and arrives off a T-5 at the Meijer LPGA Classic in her last start. Jessica ranks ninth in rounds in the 60s and 14th in average driving distance. Bonus bet: Jennifer Kupcho (+4000) …Kupcho, who captured her first major in Palm Springs, won last week against a similar field, so we know she's capable of competing against major competition. She's ninth on tour in total birdies and fifth in eagles.

Longshot: Bronte Law (+8000) …Law is coming off a big Ladies European Tour win at the Aramco Team Series event in England over the weekend. She drained an eagle putt on the last hole of regulation to Georgia Hall (+6000), Charley Hull (+5000) and Linn Grant, who recently won a DP World Tour event. 

How to watch the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: 

Coverage of the 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship will be broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC beginning with first-round action on Thursday.

  • Thursday, June 23: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Friday, June 24: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Saturday, June 25: 1-4 p.m. ET, NBC
  • Sunday, June 26: 1-4 p.m. ET, NBC


The NBC golf research team contributed to this report.

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Lisa Antonucci

Lisa Antonucci is a veteran sportswriter and editor with more than 20 years’ experience covering breaking news, events and features. She has covered golf at the professional, college and amateur levels in addition to seven Olympic Games. Lisa is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, where she was a member of the varsity women’s golf team and has a master’s degree from the University of Florida. You can follow her on Twitter @antonucci_lisa.