Heat wave 🔥
We didn't win for the third week in a row, but all THREE of our pre-tournament LPGA Top 10 predictions cashed. Ruoning Yin (+250) finished third, Megan Khang (+280) finished sixth, and Linn Grant (+190) finished seventh. Yin and Grant both contended throughout for the win. One more profitable week at Read The Line.
Fresh for everyone
The Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G returns to Kenwood Country Club just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. The 36-hole venue will welcome the LPGA for the second year of this great new event on the schedule. The club spares no expense in welcoming the best women players in the world. Check out the pool at this place pictured above!
The field of 144 players will be cut to the low 65 and ties after 36-holes. Those who make the weekend will be competing for $2 million dollars and a first-place check of $300,000. Even with the Solheim Cup in two weeks, eight members of Team USA are competing alongside five members of Team Europe. The purse went up five hundred thousand dollars, yet we lost some of the strong fields we have seen in Canada and Portland. Only four of the top 10 and 15 of the top 30 in the Rolex World Rankings are competing.
Kenwood Country Club boasts two fine courses called the Kenview and the Kendale. Not sure if they are big Barbie movie fans, but Ken is all over this place. The women compete on the Kendale Course for the tournament. A par 72 traditional layout with four par 3s and 5s and 10 par 4s covering 6,515 yards. There are 68 bunkers on the course and four holes where water comes into play. Both courses were completely renovated during the pandemic and reopened in 2021. Over 800 acres of dirt was moved, bunkers reshaped, greens complexes redesigned, and trees removed.
The result is a truly world class facility for the women to compete on. Those greens are large averaging 6,000 sq/ft and surrounded by sweeping tightly mown chipping areas and runoffs. Heading into year one, most believed the course would play tough for the tour's elite. Ally Ewing won at 22 under par! She was one stroke better than XiYu Lin and to get in the top 5 you needed to shoot 13 under par. To reach the top 10 it was 10 under par. The cutline was one under and because of the scoring a couple of changes were made to the scorecard.
The par 5s were lengthened considerably to curtail sub-par scores. The par 3s and 4s were also modified based upon year one play. It is great to see a venue evolve based upon how the competitor’s score. The Kendale Course is also well designed. It allows for the modifications and still presents a terrific test. That design has 16 holes running from north to south and vice versa. That's important to note as the wind will be coming out of the north during the tournament. Eight holes will be playing into the wind and eight downwind. Seventeen and 18 close out the card with the wind at their back as one player tries to win on Sunday.
The region has not seen rain in 11 days. There's a chance of showers on Wednesday, but overall, the course will play firm. A contrast to last year where Ohio was very wet, and the course was much softer. I love when the players need to adapt and cannot rely upon last year's intel to contend. No rain is predicted during the event and temperatures should be perfect for golf resting in the high 70s. A good breeze will be coming out of the north all four days blowing eight to 10 miles per hour.
A super venue that promotes scoring awaits for year two of the Kroger Queen City Championship. I'll dig deeper into how Ally Ewing shot four rounds in the 60s and took home the trophy. Enjoy one more week of the women in the spotlight. The PGA TOUR returns after their two-week hiatus next week in Napa. September 2023 has an odd tournament schedule so keep reading RTL and we will be sure to keep you informed and in the black.
Kroger Championship starts in...
Supermarket sweep 🛒
Walking into the inaugural Kroger a year ago left a bunch of questions unanswered, how would the women attack the Kendale Course? With a year under our belt, it is amazing what we can learn from the world's best players. The course and tournament committee even made changes to the scorecard in reaction to last year's 22 under total. Relative to par, the par 5s played the easiest and the par 3s were the most difficult. The long holes have been beefed up and the 3s have been shortened. The top 10 consisted of 13 players (there was a four-way tie for tenth place).
The top 10 averaged 19.6 birdies and the top 5 increased that value to 21.1. The LPGA players who plan to contend will need to score. Birdie or better percentage (BoB%), sub-par holes, and rounds in the 60s are all great places to start our research. The par 5s registered the most sub-par scores and I believe they will again. You can lengthen them, but overall, the three shot holes are really just four easy birdie opportunities for the elite players.
That same top 10 averaged 270 yards off the tee and hit 84% of their fairways. With that level of accuracy and length eleven of the 18 approaches are 150 yards or less. These women excel in their wedge game. The sequence and rhythm of their swings deliver the scoring clubs in a very consistent fashion. Unlike the violence of the men, when it comes to wedge play the women win out. The same top 10 hit 75% of their GIRs and achieved and average proximity of 22.4'. Strokes gained approach (SG:APP) was the largest gain category of ball striking as those thirteen ladies played five strokes better than the field on average (4.8).
The second strongest strokes gained category in year one was with the flatstick. The top 10 picked up 4.5 strokes against the field. Large greens will give an edge to the better putters. The Sunday contenders averaged 1.69 putts per GIR with Ewing and Lin leading the way. With greens this large, and short approach shots, around the green play won't differentiate the top players. Six of the top 13 players lost strokes against the field with their short game and they still finished in the top 10!
Here's where my attention is focused for our outright card:
- Prolific scoring - Ewing had four rounds in the 60s last year and any player that does it again will contend.
- Proximity to hole - Kendale has above average sized greens. Getting the ball close on approach will be a huge edge and we know who hits it close from 100-150 yards.
- Putts per GIR - You must convert those approaches to get 20+ birdies on your card.
- Power - Nine of the top 10 players a year ago average more than 260 yards off the tee.
- Par 5 scoring - Don't hold back on these scoring chances.
Putting the ball in the hole is a must at the Kroger. Last week, we saw tons of scoring and I expect a similar show outside Cincinnati. Enjoy the golf when you can around the football. I'll offer up what in-play additional bets are available. I realize many states don't offer all the options I promote, but LPGA betting is growing and that's a good thing for our golf betting community. Keep following along and take advantage when you can. The last three LPGA weeks we have been en fuego, and there's no doubt that trend will continue in Ohio.
Outright winners - Kroger Queen City Championship
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