We preview the fourth women’s Major of the year, with the Amundi Evian Championship being played at the stunning Evian Resort Golf Club in south-eastern France.
The Evian Championship, the only Major to be played on the continent on the women’s or men’s tours, sees the best golfers in the women’s game battle it out at the Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains to win the year’s fourth Major.
Minjee Lee returns to France to defend the crown she won in a playoff against Jeongeun Lee6 in 2021. The Australian, whose brother Min Woo played in last week’s 150th Open at St Andrews, arrives as the favorite to lift the trophy again. The 26-year-old, who has eight LPGA Tour wins, added a second Major to her CV de ella at last month’s US Women’s Open, winning by four shots over Mina Harigae.
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The tournament gets underway on Thursday (July 21) with 114 players in the field, including England’s Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Bronte Law, as well as Irish star Leona Maguire. 45 of top 50 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking will be teeing it up in France.
A brief history of the Major
Formerly known as the Evian Masters, the Evian Championship was awarded Major status in 2013 and is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque events in golf.
The Evian Resort’s par-71 course offers breathtaking views of the Alps and Lake Geneva and has proven to be one of the most eventful Major hosts in recent memory.
One of only two majors outside America, and the only one in Continental Europe, the Evian Championship has been won by huge names such as Alfredsson, Davies, Sorenstam, Inkster, Webb and Ko.
Ko’s win here in 2015 saw her become the youngest women’s Major champion at the age of 18. A year later, South Korea’s In Gee Chun finished 21-under-par to record the lowest ever 72-hole score in any Major.
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Key dates for The Evian Championship
1994: The tournament is created by Antoine and Franck Riboud and named The Evian Masters, joining the first division on the Ladies European Tour. Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson wins the inaugural tournament by three shots over England’s Lora Fairclough and Australia’s Sarah Gautrey.
2000: The Evian Masters becomes co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour, increasing both the importance of the event and the prize money, which increased from £689,000 to $1,800,000 (£1,301,810).
2008: Helen Alfredsson becomes the only player to win the Evian Masters three times (1994, 1998, 2008) with victory at the 15th edition. She remains the only player to achieve the feat (1994, 1998 and 2008).
2013: The most important date in the event’s history. Having long been considered the fifth women’s Major, the Evian Masters is officially promoted to become a Major and renamed The Evian Championshi. The course is completely renovated and Suzann Pettersen wins the first playing by two shots over a then amateur Lydia Ko.
2016: The Evian Championship becomes the first event to welcome golf’s new Olympic medalists. Inbee Park had won gold, Lydia Ko took silver and Shanshan Feng won bronze in Rio in August before arriving in France for the Major in September.
2019: The Evian Championship returns to July having been played in September since becoming a Major.
2021: The tournament welcomes Amundi as the new title sponsor with prize money increased from $4.1m to $4.5m, it’s highest-ever purse.
2022: Another huge purse hike, with prize money increased to $6.5m
In 1904, the Evian mineral water company bought the farm and land belonging to the Berthet family and built a nine-hole golf course with the upcoming opening of the Hôtel Royal at the front of their minds.
Located at an altitude of 500m, overlooking Lake Geneva, one of the first golf courses in France was an immediate success with visitors, who were enchanted by its magnificent views and vegetation which was to be immortalized by the writer Lamartine.
Set in 148 acres of wooded parkland, since then Evian Resort Golf Club has developed into a challenging course that offers the quality of a renowned championship course combined with the beauty of its exceptional setting.
The incomparable viewpoints of Lake Geneva and the Alpine summits are unforgettable – and so is the 18-hole course. A comprehensive renovation by the Cabell B Robinson – a former assistant to Robert Trent Jones – at the end of the 1980s was followed two decades later by another significant and successful upgrade by the team behind Celtic Manor.
Stretching to 6,595 yards, the Evian is a par 71 and now plays with more flow, is more spectacular and is more strategic… yet retains a strong French identity.
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The greens were made firmer, requiring well-struck shots to find and ‘hold’ them while also being enlarged to offer six pin positions. The revamp saw 77 bunkers added with more repositioned and 176 trees planted in 201. Almost every fairway now cambers treacherously towards the many water hazards, sand or club-tangling rough.
While some players have questioned the merits of having a fifth Major in the women’s game, Sky Sports analyst Henni Koyack considers the Evian Championship to be the equivalent of the Players Championship at Sawgrass in look and feel.
The signature hole is the 5th, a par 3 whose difficulty stems from an island green and the need to negotiate a 100m long water hazard.
And the final four holes are known as ‘the Evian Puzzle’ with two risk-and-reward par 5s, as well as a par 3 guarded by cascading ponds at the front.
A fitting purse
The players will compete for a $6.5 million purse – a $2m increase on 2021 and a $2.4 increase on 2019. The winner will receive $1m.
The LPGA Tour, led by Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan, has assembled a record prize fund of more than $90 million for the 2022 season, including $10m at the Women’s US Open, $9m at the Women’s PGA Championship, $5.8m at the Women’s British Open, and $5m at the Chevron Championship.
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The last Brit to win at Evian was Laura Davies, who went back-to-back in 1995 and 1996. In fact, Anna Nordqvist and Suzann Pettersen are the only Europeans to win there since 2009 as Asian players have largely dominated on the tree- lined course which typically favors accuracy off the tee, especially on the five par 3s.
Who’s in the field?
It’s a strong line-up for the fourth women’s Major of the year, with 45 of the top 50 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking teeing it up in France. – a major increase on the 23 from last year with a combination of travel restrictions and the Olympics causing a host of withdrawals.
Minjee Lee, the Korda sisters, Jin Young Ko, Lydia Ko, Atthaya Thitikul, Danielle Kang, Georgia Hall, and Leona Maguire are among the star attractions, with Lexi Thompson the biggest name missing the action. The American, who didn’t play in 2021 either, missed the cut in 2019 and was highly critical of the course.
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The Full Field
Na Rin An
In Gee Chun
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Wei Ling Hsu
Eun Hee Ji
Hyo Joo Kim
Sei Young Kim
To Lim Kim
In Kyung Kim
Jin Young Ko
Nanna Koerstz Madsen
Maude Aimee Leblanc
Min Ji Park
So Yeon Ryu
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Rolex Rankings Top 50 Players
1. Jin Young Ko
2. Minjee Lee
3. Nelly Korda
4. Lydia Ko
5. Atthaya Thitikul
6. Lexi Thompson Not playing
7. Nasa Hataoka
8. Hyo-Joo Kim
9. Jennifer Kucho
10. Brooke Henderson
11. In Gee Chun
12. Sei Young Kim
14. Jessica Korda
15. Danielle Kang
16. Min Ji Park
17. Patty Tavatanakit
18. Hannah Green
19. Leona Maguire
20. Yuka Saso
21. Mao Saigo
22. Anna Nordqvist
23. Celine Boutier
24. Mone Inami Not playing
25. Hye Jin Choi
26. Harigae Mine
27. Nanna Koerstz Madsen
29. Marina Alex
30. Jeong Eun Lee6
31. Akaye Furue
33. Xiyu Lin
35. Megan Khan
36. Hae Ran Ryu Not playing
37. Hee Jeong Lim Not playing
38. Charlie Hull
39. Lizette Salas
40. Hinako Shibuno
41. Ally Ewing
42. Lim Kim
43. Eun Hee Ji
44. Miyu Yamashita Not playing
45. Ryann O’Toole
46. Pia Babnik
47. Charlotte Ciganda
48. Ariya Jutanugarn
49. So Mi Lee
50. Na Rin An
Who will win the Evian Championship?
Minjee Lee is the bookies’ favorite to win in France, and it’s hard to disagree. She loves the course, it suits her game, and she heads here off the back of winning the Women’s US Open – her second LPGA win of the season.
Nelly Korda has lost her spot at the top of the world rankings after a blood clot forced a break from the game, but she’s definitely one to watch, alongside Jin Young Ko and Lydia Ko, who became the youngster Major winner here in
top picks: Minjee Lee 9/1; Nelly Korda 10/1; Jin Young Ko 12/1; Atthaya Thitkul 1/14; Lydia Ko 1/14; Brooke Henderson 1/22; Hyo Joo Kim 1/25; Hye-Jin Choi 1/25; NASA Hataoka 1/28; Jessica Kordan 1/28; Linn Grant 1/28; Hannah Green 1/28; In Gee Chun 1/28; Jennifer Kupcho 1/28; Anna Nordqvist 40/1; Sei Young Kim 40/1; Inbee Park 40/1; Min Ji Park 40/1; Xiyu Lin 40/1; Georgia Hall 40/1; Leona Maguire 40/1.
Selectedothers: Charlie Hull 66/1; Jodi Ewart Shadoff 125/1; Lizette Salas 125/1; Bronte Law 125/1; Olivia Cowan 300/1; Sophia Popov 500/1; Mel Reid 500/1;
Odds correct as of 7pm on Tuesday, July 19.
Evian Championship: Tee times and groups – Round 1
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