Minjee heads Aussie charge at Hazeltine

With the chance of landing her first major and possibly the world No.1 ranking, Minjee Lee has plenty of incentive ahead of the women's PGA Championship.

MINJEE LEE of Australia plays her tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
MINJEE LEE of Australia plays her tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. Picture: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

World No.3 Minjee Lee will be hoping to snare that elusive first major and possibly the world's top women's ranking when the PGA Championship gets underway at Hazeltine.

The West Australian will head a field of seven Australians vying for honours at the fourth richest tournament in the women's game, with the winner taking home US$578,000 ($A838,000).

A field of 144 players will take on the demanding par-72 layout with thick rough and the course is set up to present the longest test in the 65-year history of the tournament which begins on Thursday night (AEST).

Playing at 6,807 yards, Hazeltine will break the record previously established at Kemper Lakes in Kildeer, Illinois, which measured 6,741 yards in 2018.

The 23-year-old Lee looks the most likely of the Australian contingent to fight out the finish.

Since her win at the LA Open back in April, Lee has dropped back down to No. 3 on the back of some great performances in recent weeks from American Lexi Thompson.

But a win for Australia's highest-ranked golfer could see her achieve a life-long dream of becoming world No.1, provided Jin Young Ko finishes solo third or worse.

Other Australians in the field are LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, fellow Queenslander Katherine Kirk, Victorian Su Oh, who equalled her best LPGA performance last week finishing tied for 2nd at the Meijer Classic, Sarah Kemp, Hannah Green and former Evian Masters Champion and now full-time LPGA teaching professional Wendy Doolan.

Defending champion South Korean former world No.1 Sung Hyun Park will look to join five other players who have successfully defended their KPMG Women's PGA Championship victory: Mickey Wright (1960-61); Patty Sheehan (1983-84); Juli Inkster (1999-2000); Annika Sorenstam (2003-05); and Inbee Park (2013-15).

Brooke Henderson comes into this event in red-hot form after winning last week's tournament on the LPGA Tour, the LPGA Meijer Classic.

Australian players tee-times (all AEST)

11:02pm: Su Oh, Sarah Kemp, Haeji Kang

11:24pm: Katherine Kirk, Sei Young Kim, Bronte Law

12:19am: Minjee Lee, Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie

4:49am: Karrie Webb, Angela Stanford, Carlota Ciganda

4:16am: Wendy Doolan, Lee-Anne Pace, Daniela Darquea

5:00am: Hannah Green, Jennifer Song, Lindsey Weaver.


AAP