MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Twin Cities are at the center of the golfing world for two of the next three weeks.

It starts Wednesday with the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, followed by the men and the 3M Open in two weeks.

This is one of the biggest tournaments on the LPGA schedule, and one of the five majors to be played this year.

For the first time ever, the women’s KPMG is being played at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska. The stage is set, the greens are primed, and Minnesota’s most famous golf course is ready to be in the international spotlight again.

This was a day of practice for the pros, as they teed it up with the likes of Joe Mauer. But the day wasn’t about the guys, it was about the ladies.

“It’s cool to know that not just men can do golf. It’s cool to know that women can also play golf,” said young fan Charlotte Joslin.

Her grandparents took her to watch what was much more than a pro-am.

“I personally wanted Charlotte to come out because I wanted her to see strong women, and teach her that she can be a strong woman, too,” said fan Bonnie Benson. “So it’s pretty cool to be out here.”

And that’s what pro Danielle Kang says fuels her.

“I love playing for me, but I love playing for my team, and I love that I can be an inspiration to younger girls out there, and they would go out of their way to drive out here and to see us play,” Kang said. “It inspires me.”

And she’s pretty inspirational herself. Kang won this tournament in 2017. It’s her first trip to Hazeltine, and she’s already a fan of the course.

“The venue is absolutely incredible,” Kang said. “I’ve heard so much about it. People have talked so highly of it. Sometimes when, you know, [people] over sell it, you get here and you go, ‘Huh, what?’ But I got here, the golf course condition’s incredible.”

She says she hopes to play hard for her, and for her young fans.

“I hope that they love what they see, and I’m going to do the best I can do,” Kang said.

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

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