A whirlwind stretch of ten consecutive weeks of competition has seen the LPGA Tour travel from Pebble Beach to Dundonald Links to Walton Heath, from California to Scotland to England to Canada, and the busiest portion of the 2023 schedule wraps up this week at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The second edition of the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G gets underway on Thursday, September 7, and while it’s the second time that the LPGA Tour’s finest will see Kenwood Country Club’s Kendale Course, it feels like the first time they’ll get to fully experience the historic venue after last year’s conditions were less than ideal.

When the LPGA Tour returned to the area in 2022, it had been more than 30 years since the best in women’s golf had played in Cincinnati and there was much anticipation from both LPGA members and Queen City residents about their return.

Kenwood Country Club, host of the Kroger Queen City Championship, was designed by Bill Diddle and opened in 1930. The course features 36 holes which are surrounded by towering sycamore and walnut trees that are laid out over a rolling terrain with wide, expansive views of the surrounding seven hills and in the distance, the Cincinnati skyline. Players had rave reviews for the new tour stop, in which they described the track as fun, tough and beautiful. But it was also soaking wet.

Ahead of the inaugural Kroger Queen City Championship, the Cincinnati area received more than five inches of rain in the five days before the tournament. The heavy downpours saturated the area and waterlogged the country club which was forced to close for practice rounds on both Monday and Tuesday of tournament week. It was an unfortunate start as players weren’t able to fully prepare or to experience the venue as it was intended to be played given the amount of moisture the course had retained.

But this year, drier than normal conditions will have Kenwood Country Club playing much differently and the venue is far from the soggy layout players experienced last year. And for the first time since the 1963 U.S. Women’s Open, the LPGA Tour will get to truly experience the historic venue and see everything the course has to offer.

Defending champion Ally Ewing headlines the 144-player field that will compete for a $2 million purse – an increase from $1.75 million last season. They’ll compete for 72 holes at Kenwood Country Club’s Kendale Course, which will play to 6,515 yards.

Alongside Ewing, a slew of major champions are in the field this week, including Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee, Jennifer Kupcho, Lexi Thompson, Ashleigh Buhai, Ruoning Yin, Yuka Saso, Allisen Corpuz, Sei Young Kim, Hinako Shibuno, A Lim Kim and Jeongeun Lee6. Rolex First-Time Winners this season Rose Zhang, Linn Grant, Alexa Pano, Grace Kim and last week’s Portland Classic winner Chanettee Wannasaen are also poised to compete in the Queen City.

Sponsor exemptions were extended to Gabi Ruffels, already a multiple winner on the Epson Tour this season and who has locked up an LPGA Tour card for 2024, as well as major champion Paula Creamer and amateur Mia Hammond, who made her LPGA debut earlier this season at the Dana Open in nearby Toledo.

Last year, cool temperatures and wet conditions couldn’t keep away the more than 50,000 residents who came out to see the LPGA Tour make their return to the Queen City. And despite the less-than-ideal conditions in 2022, players enthusiastically described the historic venue as fun, tough and beautiful.Just imagine what they’ll have to say this week with plentiful sunshine and clear skies as everyone, players and fans alike, will truly get to experience the excellence of Kenwood Country Club as the LPGA Tour once again returns to the Queen City for the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G.

By Dr Muhammad Hussain