Stephanie Meadow has joined Leona Maguire in making the cut after a hard-fought second round at the Amundi Evian Championship on the shores of Lake Geneva in southeastern France.
Strong gusts swept across Evian Resort on day two, and combined with firm fairways and greens, high scores were common as several big names struggled in the testing conditions. Maguire was among the early starters and fears that she may be in danger of missing the cut were quickly allayed as the mark never threatened to close in on the Cavan star’s position.
Meadow, who started her round at 13:03 local time, looked set to brave the worst of the conditions with rain expected to accompany the strengthening winds.
She started in ideal fashion, however, birdieing the 11th – her second – and making par on the other three holes before reaching the par-3 14th. Playing incredibly tough with the pin tucked back-right, she’d make a triple bogey and move to +2 for the round. She’d regroup with a par at the next and make amends at the 17th, another par-3, where a birdie-two would take her back into red figures for the tournament.
Having parred her way to the turn, a run of four bogeys in five holes at the start of the front side left her dangerously close to the cut line, but four successive pars to finish saw her safely through in a tie for 52nd at +3 and with a shot to spare.
First-round leader Paula Reto matched Meadow’s 76 and lies tied for eighth alongside defending champion Brooke Henderson among others, with Rose Zhang, Minjee Lee, Linn Grant and Jin Young Ko among those a short further adrift at -2.
Home favourite Celine Boutier is the story of the day, however, having followed her opening 66 with a second-round 69 to post -7 and take a one-stroke lead into the weekend. Buoyed on by vocal support, Boutier would trade four birdies with two bogeys, but it was on the difficult home stretch from 12 through 18 that she’d navigate in three-under which was most impressive.
“Yeah, it’s definitely not easy,” Boutier would say of the pressures of performing with such expectations on her shoulders. “I feel like in the past I’ve definitely, you know, not handled it very well. I just feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself because I don’t want to disappoint anybody.
“If I learned anything from the past, I really have to just focus on the job and on the course, on each shot. I feel like that’s really helped me really stay focused and not get ahead or think too much about the plans.”
After such an attritional day, she was obviously relieved to have it in the books and hope for calmer conditions on moving day. “Yeah, I mean, I feel definitely, you know, relief to be done,” she said, “to be honest. It took forever so I’m just really glad to be done.
“Looking forward to resting with my family and just eat something for dinner and just, yeah, recover as much as I can before tomorrow.”
In hot pursuit of Boutier are the duo of Yuka Saso and Patty Tavatanakit who shot rounds of -2 and -4 respectively, with Nasa Hataoka, Alison Lee and Gaby Lopez a shot further back on -5.