This time last year, Jennifer Kupcho, who had an outstanding amateur record, was still chasing her first LPGA win. Success doesn’t come overnight. She would prevail in her 62nd LPGA start and win a Major, no less, the Chevron Championship in Palm Springs.
She backed that up with a win at the Meijer LPGA Classic a week ago for Simply Give. Kupcho opened there with a brilliant 63 but struggled with her ball strike on Saturday – she still managed to shoot 69 – and early Sunday before an eagle on the eighth hole got her going. She won in a three-way playoff.
Playing in the last three at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on Saturday, Kupcho had some troubles although her 2-over-74 was still the low round in her star-studded group with In Gee Chun and Lydia Ko. As a two-time winner, Kupcho brings that extra confidence into Sunday. Congress is something tangible.
“I mean obviously chasing a win is very different than having them under your belt,” she said earlier this week. “You have a lot more confidence when you’re competing to actually be able to persevere and win.”
A long and powerful hitter, Kupcho smoothed out her challenges with the driver this week by getting closer to the ball. Working with Colorado PGA pro Ed Oldham, Kupcho is also seeing the fruits of an offseason working to improve her putting. After finishing 17th in birdies a year ago, she started week #9 this season. She birdied seven times on Friday. On Saturday she made three more.
Kupcho started Saturday six strokes behind In Gee Chun and will start Sunday five strokes behind. Even if she can’t come back to win, there’s more at stake with a high finish.
Kupcho, 25, came into the week second in LPGA earnings and third in the Race to the CME Globe. She and Minjee Lee, the other Major champion of 2022, are the only two players to have won twice this season. Does that mean Kupcho is considering potentially winning LPGA Player of the Year?
“I know my parents are thinking about it,” Kupcho said, “but it’s definitely not on my mind at all.”