Ko, Park, Lewis battling for No. 1 at Women's PGA


The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship begins Thursday at Westchester Country Club in New York with more than a trophy at stake for Lydia Ko, Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis. The Rolex No. 1 ranking is up for grabs for the top three in the world rankings.

No. 2 Park moved within ten hundredths of a point of No. 1 Ko in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week. Park can get to No. 1 with a finish of 29th or better at Westchester, depending on what Ko and Lewis do. No. 3 Lewis is more than a full point behind Ko in her average world ranking but can still get to No. 1 with a victory, depending on what Ko and Park do.

Golf Channel will televise the first two rounds (1-4 p.m. ET) with NBC televising the weekend rounds (3-6 p.m., ET) Here are six groups to watch in the first two rounds (all times ET):

Inbee Park, Lexi Thompson and Suzann Pettersen: 8:30 a.m. Thursday; 1:40 p.m. Friday.
Though this is the inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA, Park is technically the defending champion. She won the LPGA Championship last year, and LPGA Championship records are carrying over to the Women’s PGA.

Park defeated Brittany Lincicome in a playoff in the LPGA Championship at Monroe Golf Club just outside Rochester, N.Y. Thompson is looking for her first victory since she won her first major, the Kraft Nabisco, early last year.

Pettersen enters this week red hot after winning the Manulife LPGA. Pettersen was in the final Sunday pairing with a chance to win at last year’s LPGA Championship but struggled to a 76 in the final round.

Lydia Ko, Christina Kim and So Yeon Ryu: 8:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:50 p.m. Friday.
Ko, 18, is looking to win her first major. If the Rolex world No. 1 does so, she will become the youngest woman to win a major.

Kim showed she remains a factor on tour winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational late last year. There are a lot of Solheim Cup points up for grabs this week as Kim looks to make the American team heading over to Germany in September. Kim is 15th on the USA points list and needs to rank among the top eight to automatically qualify for the team on points.

Ryu is looking to win her second major. She won the U.S. Women’s Open four years ago.

Stacy Lewis, Mi Hyang Lee and Caroline Hedwall: 1:30 p.m. Thursday, 8:20 a.m. Friday
Lewis is looking to heat up again after missing the cut last week at the Manulife Classic, her first MC in almost two years. There’s a lot to motivate Lewis at Westchester. KPMG is one of her sponsors, and she helped bring the company together with the PGA as a sponsor of the year’s second major.

Lee won her first LPGA title last fall, the Mizuno Classic. Hedwall is a European Solheim Cup dynamo but has yet to win an LPGA title.

Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Jessica Korda: 8:20 a.m. Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Lincicome won the year’s first major, taking the ANA Inspiration in a playoff. She lost last year’s LPGA Championship in a playoff to Inbee Park.

Kerr won the Kia Classic in March for her 17th LPGA title but stumbled down the stretch last weekend with a chance to win the Manulife Classic.

Korda finished T-2 at the season-opening Coates Golf Championship but has missed the cut in two of her last three starts.

Karrie Webb, Paula Creamer and Anna Nordqvist: 1 p.m. Thursday, 7:50 a.m. Friday.
The Hall of Famer Webb is seeking her eighth major championship title, her first since winning the Kraft Nabisco in ’06. Creamer is returning to form after a short spring struggle. Nordqvist won the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago.

Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel and Charley Hull: 1:40 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Wie missed the cut at the ShopRite Classic in her last start, struggling with a left hip injury. She withdrew from the Manulife Classic before last week’s event started. She’s still looking for her first top-10 finish this season.

Pressel is showing the kind of form that made her so formidable on tough tracks like Westchester. She has finished third or better in three of her last seven starts. Hull is coming off a T-11 finish at Manulife last week.