MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s most famous golf course takes center stage again this week.

Two years after hosting the Ryder Cup, Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska welcomes the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship — one of five majors.

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Tuesday was the pro-am, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was among the amateurs.

“When I think of Minnesota, I think of lakes, I think of [Mall of America], and I think about the fact that I went to the University of Denver and I had at least three college sorority sisters from Minnesota,” Rice said.

Hard to call her an amateur at anything, but Rice joined in the KPMG Women’s pro-am. This tournament is historic because it’s the first time it’s been played at Hazeltine, and Ms. Rice says it’s historic in another big way.

“I think it’s a breakthrough time for women in golf,” Rice said. “We’ve had the Augusta Nationals women’s amateur, we have a wonderful professional tournament here.”

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Rice was one of the first two women to join Augusta National. She’s far from the only golf fan anticipating a week of watching the best in the game. Mika Jenniges is a 12-year-old golfer from Redwood Falls.

“Before it was only men golfers, and I’m glad women got the opportunity to do what men did so they get to have fun like everyone else,” Jenniges said.

Reese Barry is a 9-year-old golfer from Medina.

“I want to be a golfer when I grow up in LPGA,” Barry said.

And that’s just what Rice likes to see: girls giving it their best shot.

“These girls are playing spectacularly, and I know women’s golf is going to just take off,” Rice said.

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The championship tournament begins Thursday morning. Tickets are still available, and start at $40 to get onto the grounds. Kids under age the age of 17 can get into the tournament for free. Parking is available for free on site at Hazeltine.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield