In Gee Chun followed her record-setting first-round 64 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with a three-under 69 before returning a third-round 75. Her midpoint lead swelled to six shots over fellow Major champions Lydia Ko and Jennifer Kupcho and it remains three strokes over the trio of Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim and Hye Jin Choi with a round to play. Australia’s Hannah Green, who won this event in 2019, is a further shot off the pace.
Congressional Country Club is long at more than 6,200 metres (6,800 yards) for the women, and it was made even longer for the week due to heavy rains on Wednesday night. Extreme setups can cause players to reconsider clubs in their sets, but Paul Boehmer, who runs the LPGA Tour’s equipment truck, said he didn’t see many club changes at Congressional.
One player who did make a couple key changes, however, was Chun. She took out her 3 and 4-hybrids and put in a 7-wood and 9-wood. Generally, for players with swing speeds like Chun’s, high-lofted fairway woods launch higher and go farther than hybrids. The higher launch helps the ball hold the green when it lands and the distance speaks for itself.
Clearly, the change is paying off. Chun ranks in the bottom half on the tour in driving distance, but she missed only three greens over her first 36 holes at Congressional.
“I think I used the 9-wood three holes straight,” Chun said after two rounds. “I think I made two birdies with the 9-wood.”
Chun said the last time she used a 7-wood, she was a junior learning how to play golf. This is the first time she’s ever used a 9-wood.
Though Chun hasn’t won on tour since 2018, she’s a three-time champion. Two of those wins are Majors: the 2015 US Women’s Open and the 2016 Evian Championship. It’s been more than half a decade, but she knows how to win Major championships.
PHOTO: Darren Carroll/PGA of America