The LPGA Tour is in France, where players begin a swing through the European continent with the fourth women’s Major of the year, the Amundi Evian Championship. The top five players in the world are in the 132-woman field, including 14 of the 15 players who have won on the LPGA in 2022. They’ll be playing for the $US6.5 million purse. In 2021, the tournament ended in a playoff after Minjee Lee rallied down the stretch, making birdies on four of her last five holes. On the first extra hole, Lee made another birdie to beat Jeonguen Lee6 and secure her first Major title after starting the day seven shots off the lead.
Here are five players we’ll be keeping an eye on as play begins tonight, Australian time, at the Evian Resort Golf Club.
Lee [pictured, top] is the defending champion, having started a major roll in France last year that extended to 2022 with a win the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles and a T-2 at the KPMG Women’s PGA at Congressional. Outside the Majors, the 26-year-old West Australian has added a win and two other top-three finishes to her 2022 accomplishments. Given her results, it’s no surprise she’s climbed up the rankings and is now No.2 in the world. She’s comfortable at the Evian Resort Golf Club and she loves the Majors, because she loves pressure. She might not need a playoff to get it done this year.
In 2021, Maguire shot a final-round 61 at the Evian. With that round, the Irishwoman tied the lowest round ever shot by a professional golfer – male or female – in a Major. Fast forward to 2022, and Maguire is no longer an LPGA Tour rookie, and no longer winless on tour, either. She claimed the LPGA Drive On title in February and finished T-2 last month at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give against a stacked leaderboard. Though Maguire, 27, hit a snag early this week when an airline lost her clubs on the way to France, she was able to find them and might be primed for another historic week.
The 25-year-old from Colorado has already won three times in 2022, making her the winningest player on the LPGA Tour this season. One of those wins was a Major: the Chevron Championship. Were she to win in France, it’d be the first time that an American has won two Majors in one season since 1999, when Juli Inkster won the LPGA Championship and the US Women’s Open.
Jin Young Ko
The current world No.1 won the first event she played in 2022 but hasn’t won since. Her best finish in a Major so far this year is fourth at the US Women’s Open, and she remains in the top five on tour in strokes gained/total. Heading into the Evian, where Ko, 27, won in 2019, it feels like it’s time for the 2021 LPGA Player of the Year to win again.
The 19-year-old rookie from Thailand has one win this year and has been close on several other occasions. She quietly finished two shots behind In Gee Chun at the KPMG Women’s PGA in June, her best career performance at a Major. Her second-best finish was in 2021 at the Evian. She was four back of Lee, shooting three rounds in the 60s. Entering this year with more experience, she could be primed for her first Major win.