Date: June 08, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Major prizes at stake for Aussies

There’s always a lot at stake in a major championship, but there’s so much more again for the Australian contingent at this week’s Women’s PGA Championship.

Six Aussie women will peg it up at Sahalee Country Club in suburban Seattle, with Olympic or International Crown selection firmly in the minds of all bar Minjee Lee.

Lee, 13th in the world, is safely in both Australian teams – but behind her a polite battle rages.

Oh, in outstanding recent form, has closed to within 13 rungs of seven-time major champion Webb on the Rolex Rankings to be the second pick for the Rio Olympics in August with the cut-off date July 11.

Those three women appear locks to make the four-strong Australian International Cup team to play in Chicago from July 22.

But the race for fourth is heating right up with Sarah Jane Smith, Katherine Kirk and Sarah Kemp all in the field this week and chasing the incumbent but absent Rebecca Artis.

Smith has offered more than glimpses of her best form recently and is making steady progress towards Artis in the world rankings, while Kemp and Kirk both showed flashes during last week’s ShopRite Classic in New Jersey.

But the complexities of a major championship are many.

With 22 of the top-25 ranked players in the world in action, any move will have to be achieved in the fiercest of battlegrounds.

Two-time major champion and world No.1 Lydia Ko headlines the field along with three-time defending champion Inbee Park and major champion and world No.3 Lexi Thompson.

Oh’s rise in prominence has been rewarded by becoming part of a feature group with major champion Hyo Joo Kim (world No.14) and her fellow Korean Mirim Lee (No.34).

Webb will also share a spotlight alongside American legend Julie Inkster, also a seven-time major winner, and former Women’s US Open champion So Yeon Ryu, the world No.11.