Five Things to Know About the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by PG | LPGA

The second playing of the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G this week will serve as a fitting finale for the Tour’s most taxing stretch of 10 consecutive events and officially marks the end of the summer schedule. Next week will be the first break from competition on Tour since the beginning of July but don’t worry. With a field star-studded with major champions and 2023 LPGA Tour winners, the Kroger Queen City Championship will certainly provide enough excitement to carry fans through to the Solheim Cup which begins on September 22.

By The Numbers

It’s no secret that the LPGA Tour has had a tough schedule the last nine weeks, but they have been some of the most grueling and exciting yet. The stretch began with the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in July and included two additional major championships, The Amundi Evian Championship and the AIG Women’s Open. The Tour crisscrossed the globe, visiting six countries across Europe and North America, and of the nine champions crowned, six were Rolex First-Time Winners. Over $38 million in prize money was dished out, led by the $11 million purse at the U.S. Women’s Open which boasted a record-breaking $2 million winner’s check cashed in by Allisen Corpuz. The Tour saw its first back-to-back winner since 2021 when Celine Boutier won both The Amundi Evian Championship – becoming the first Frenchwoman to win the event in its history – and the FREED GROUP Women’s Scottish Open. A new world No. 1 was crowned last month when Lilia Vu picked up her second major victory and third title of the season at the AIG Women’s Open. And just last week, Chanettee Wannasaen became only the third Monday qualifier ever to win an LPGA Tour event. All that and more was squeezed into nine weeks of competition so with one final week to go three things are certain: the Kroger Queen City Championship will add $2 million in prize money to the tally, another winner will be crowned and just about anything could happen along the way.

Last Week’s Winner

Besides etching her name in the history books last week Wannasaen proved that anyone can win on the LPGA Tour. The 19-year-old has struggled in her rookie season on Tour, making just three cuts in 12 starts, including her first two events of the season as well as last week. Before her win, Wannasaen had missed nine consecutive cuts, forcing her to play her way into the Portland Classic as a Monday qualifier. Not only did Wannasaen set the tournament scoring record at 26-under – punctuated by a bogey-free final round 9-under 63 – she became just the third Monday qualifier in Tour history to take home the trophy on Sunday. Thirteen-time LPGA Tour winner Brooke Henderson was the last player to accomplish the feat, also at the Portland Classic for her first win on Tour. Henderson went on to win her first major title the next season. Wannasaen has no intention of letting the momentum from her first win pass her by and will be making the cross-country trip from Oregon to Ohio for the Kroger Queen City Championship. Since Wannasaen’s closest comparison right now is LPGA legend Brooke Henderson, she’ll certainly be worth watching this week and beyond.

Who’s Defending

This week is only the second edition of the Kroger Queen City Championship, which means there’s only one former champion looking to defend her glory: Ally Ewing. At a waterlogged Kenwood Country Club, Ewing found five straight birdies on the back nine in her final round to hold off her competitors and clinch the third victory of her career. Right now, with just four missed cuts in 16 starts and four top-10 finishes, the 30-year-old is in tip-top shape and poised to defend her title, though it is one of the tallest tasks on Tour – only Jin Young Ko was able to successfully defend her title at the HSBC Women’s World Championship this season. Ewing’s best finish so far this year is a tie for fifth that came at the LPGA Drive On Championship, but she nearly eclipsed that with a T6 at the AIG Women’s Open just a few weeks ago. Her performance throughout the year earned her a spot on the United States Solheim Cup as a captain’s pick and she will be making her third appearance in the biennial team in Andalucia, Spain. Since her first win at the LPGA Drive On Championship in 2020, Ewing has won once every year and this week could be the perfect time to keep that streak going. It will at least be a great tune-up for Ewing with just two weeks to go until the Solheim Cup.

Something’s Gotta Give

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it must be said that Xiyu Lin is due for a victory. Now at No. 12 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Lin is the highest-ranked player in the world without a win. The 27-year-old has been oh-so-close to victory many times with five runner-up finishes in the last two seasons. Though there’s no telling when that win will finally come, the Kroger Queen City Championship might just be the perfect storm for Lin. At the inaugural playing of the event, Lin put up a good fight against Ewing, carding a bogey-free, 7-under 65 on the final day to finish just one shot behind the American. Lin did the same at last week’s Portland Classic, charging up the leaderboard with a bogey-free, final-round, 8-under 64 to put some pressure on Wannasaen. But again, Lin finished solo second, four strokes behind the teenager from Thailand. Her finish last week was her second runner-up result of the 2023 and her fifth top 10 of the year. Lin has been in contention throughout the past two seasons but hasn’t quite been able to leapfrog to the top of the leaderboard. With another near miss last week and memories of what could have been at Kenwood Country Club last year, Lin might finally find that elusive maiden win this week in the Queen City.

After the Break

Once the Kroger Queen City champion is crowned, there will be just one week before the 12-player teams from the U.S. and Europe jet off to Finca Cortesin to duke it out in one of the most exciting team competitions on Tour. Many team members are taking the week off to rest up before the competition, but many are in the field this week for a last-minute tune-up. On the European side, Linn Grant, Charley Hull, Emily Kristine Pedersen and Madelene Sagstrom will make the visit to Kenwood Country Club for one final tournament, and U.S. team members Allisen Corpuz, Ewing, Jennifer Kupcho, Andrea Lee, Lexi Thompson, Angel Yin and Rose Zhang will be doing the same. The U.S. has a historical edge in the international competition with a 10-7 record, but the European team has the momentum, winning the last two Solheim Cup competitions at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2019 and at Inverness Club in Ohio in 2021. The European team is led by 15-time LPGA Tour winner Suzann Pettersen and her crew of assistant captains, Laura Davies, Caroline Martens and Anna Nordqvist, who will also be playing. Thirteen-time LPGA Tour winner Stacy Lewis will lead the American team with Angela Stanford, Morgan Pressel and Natalie Gulbis serving as assistant captains.

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