Players look forward to Congress’ tough test at KPMG Women’s PGA Championship | LPGA

Betheda, MD | This week, women’s golf’s best players come to the venerable Capitol Country Club, recently renovated, for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, just 12 miles from the White House.

Players are expecting a tough test, especially with the wide course being hilly and the resulting uphill approach to hitting the ball creates extra pressure. This week’s live LPGA editors tallied eight in-field shots into Congress’ expansive greens, where the bottom of the pin may not be visible. Six of them are on the front nine, two are on the back nine, most notably the 15th with a tall American flagpole behind it.

Defending champion Nelly Korda clearly sees the challenge ahead of her and the field for these special shots.

“I don’t think I’ve ever hit that many blind shots on a golf course,” Korda said. “(We) are definitely not going to say ‘strike’ too early this week, but yeah, it’s a really fun track. The PGA of America can do whatever they want with it. They can make it very difficult or make it It becomes scoreable. I think it will be interesting to see how it goes this week.”

The 23-year-old, who was in her sixth KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, considered the 15-man approach “a little scary” and perhaps the toughest on the blue course in Congress.

“You just have to believe it, right? You just have to believe you have to go left (the flagpole above the green) and you can’t see the flagpole,” Korda said. “You don’t know how it’s going to bounce back because the contours of the greens are crazy too.”

Stacy Lewis, who will make her 14th start at the major, also sees her 15th uphill as the key challenge of the week.

“(It’s a) very difficult hole. I think it’s going to be a very difficult hole over time,” Lewis said.

Not to mention that your approach shots into the 15th green and many other greens may have an uneven lie, and one of the keys to confrontation, Lewis believes, is to prepare for those lies before you hit the ball and Prepare.

“After your tee, you have uneven lays on the fairway, (it’s about) shaping them the right way to keep them on the fairway,” Lewis said. “There are a lot of different challenges. It’s not just one thing.”

As far as challenges and uphill shots go, Congressional Golf and Athletics Director Jason Epstein sees it as just a way to test the best in women’s golf.

“Like last week’s Brookline Country Club, Congress has greens at high points, which will require players to be creative when they try to hit their shots from close range, and will require variety in how they hit the ball,” Epstein said. . “The best players in the world like to lie flat and be in a predictable position, and this course gives them the edge and requires them to hit some very demanding shots.”

Some of the demanding shots happened on the front nine, with Kathryn Kirk saying there wasn’t a tee you could think of as “easy to birdie,” while the sixth and ninth holes — two par-5s — According to Alison Lee it was very challenging.

“On most courses, the par 5s are potentially easy holes for birdies, but this week I think the first two par 5s are the two hardest holes on the entire course, especially the nines, “Lee said the fairway has three large slopes in its 585-yard range. “You have two bunkers after the tee and a tricky second shot, you need to hit the ball in perfect position and if you hit it too short you have a very long club very strong greens.”

If you land near the green – which is about 20 feet above the cart trail and 80 yards below, it will return from the hill to the rough on the right. “Then you’re faced with an impossible approach where you can’t see the pins. That green is also very sloped, so you just have to aim for the front, middle of the green every day.”

When players missed the greens this week, they noticed that the Kentucky bluegrass rough was particularly dense, from where they had to cut into these wide greens.

“Rough isn’t long, but it’s super, super sticky, thick and rough. It’s not like bentgrass, it’s long and thin. It’s hard. You have to really hit it to get that speed,” says Brittany Long .

“You have to hit the ball harder than you think to get into the hole because it just grabs your club and stops it from dying. So you have to know that your chips are 10 feet longer.”

This week also saw data as an important key. One’s putting speed will play a big role in keeping the competition this week, Kirk said.

“You have to be a good lag putter, and you’re going to have a lot of putters with a lot of curves, so you have to be creative on these greens,” Kirk said.

Creativity, a big factor this week.

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