LPGA golfers spark inspiration for next generation of competitors in Chaska

Young girls lined the fairways at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska over the weekend, hoping to catch a glimpse of professional female golfers.

The event drew much smaller crowds than the 2016 Ryder Cup, allowing a more intimate view for attendees—many of which were young girls.

“She was excited because she’s seen the men play at the Phoenix Open so she was like, ‘I get to see the women play, I’m so excited’,” said Anthony Bilyeu of Eagan.

Bilyeu brought his six-year-old daughter Zoe to watch the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship finals on Sunday. He said he was thrilled to give his daughter the opportunity to see women play.

“Just to see that anything is possible because what’s the point in having dreams if you can’t live them,” he said.

The champion, Hannah Green, said she had never seen so many young girls at a golf tournament.

"Just seeing how many girls were out there was awesome,” said Green. "If I have the opportunity I want to give them a high five and a smile or a high five. I never had the opportunity to do that at that age so if me just giving them a smile makes them say I can be like her, I'll easily do it."

Organizers said Sunday that they hoped the event sparked interest in youth and attracted more women to the sport.

“I think when girls come out and see these women play, they can’t help but be inspired by the tremendous golf they are demonstrating on the course but also the interaction they have with the fans,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, General Chair of the event. “It’s just tremendous.”

The weekend event was the 13th time Hazeltine has hosted a championship. The first was the U.S. Women’s Open in 1966.