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Ariya on double mission at Women's PGA

30 June 2017

The KPMG Women's PGA Championship is the first of three major championships in a six-week period. Since winning that U.S. Women's Open, she's sabotaged herself often with a clunker round.

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Henderson won her first major at Sahalee past year, and Wie claimed her only major - the 2014 U.S. Women's Open - at Pinehurst.

Newly-crowned women's world number one Ryu So-yeon, who won the year's first major at the ANA Inspiration, made a smooth start with a tidy 69 in front of a small afternoon gallery that included her mother Cho, the cathedral-like silence on the course broken mainly by an occasional passing train along the line that runs adjacent to the first fairway.

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"But I don't feel like a lot of things have changed". All three players missed the green left as they tried to muscle their tee shots on the 207-yard hole. Lydia Ko was No. 1 for two years, but Jutanugarn was No. 1 for only two weeks. "I was just sick of being down and really started this year with a really good sense of determination and motivation". I'm not even going to try to describe the overlaps and multiple winners.

David Leadbetter, Wie's longtime swing instructor who is like a second dad, made a daring statement in the shadows of Olympia Field's palatial clubhouse: "There's no doubt in my mind she's going to win soon".

The 21-year-old from Bangkok did not play in Arkansas and worked on her game during the break.

The Thai won a tournament at Olympia Fields Country Club when she was an amateur.

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Not that she is ready to plan her victory speech just yet. "But I'm in a great spot right now, so I'm really excited".

"I got a lot of questions from the media and just wondering what was wrong with me or my game when I wasn't getting top 10s like I did past year", she stated, "and there was a lot of comparison to my season in I guess 2016". I just want to be happy and have fun out there. "The final round, I felt like I can't play anymore because I was so exhausted, but my sister carried the bag and walked like 100 yards in front of me". "She has been playing so good the last few weeks".

Defending champion: Brooke Henderson. Kerr shot 78, Jutanugarn 77 and Lewis 74.

She is in ideal position right behind the leaders thanks to three birdies and no bogeys on the back nine and will look to make a charge in the second round.

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This is the third year of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, with the PGA of America, LPGA and the accounting giant joining forces to breathe life into the former LPGA Championship, which was sponsorless and in jeopardy despite a deep heritage dating to its 1955 inception.

Ariya on double mission at Women's PGA