Action comes hot and heavy for the stars of the women’s game and that’s apparent as Leona Maguire, Stephanie Meadow and the cream of the LPGA and LET Tours gear up for the third major in six weeks.
The Amundi Evian Championship, held at Evian Resort in the picturesque Evian village overlooking Lake Geneva in southeastern France, has been part of the Women’s major rota since 2013, and this year marks the 10th staging with no championship being held in 2020 due to the global pandemic.
Big-name winners of the Evian Championship include Annika Sörenstam, Paula Creamer and Inbee Park from the pre-major days, and Suzann Petterson, Lydia Ko, Jin Young Ko, Minjee Lee, and most recently, Brooke Henderson, have all collected major titles here.
Leona Maguire spearheads the Irish duo, having claimed her maiden major top-10 finish here in 2021 on her second ever appearance which came a full six years after winning the low-amateur accolade back in 2015 when tied for 34th.
Maguire arrives on the back of a solo fourth-placed finish at the LET’s Aramco Team Series in London, and having captured her second LPGA Tour win at the Meijer Classic just seven weeks ago, will begin the event as one of the pre-tournament favourites. Playing alongside Japanese Yuka Saso and the United States’ Danielle Kang in rounds one and two, Maguire will be looking to continue the form that’s seen her become one of only 19 players to make the cut in all three 2023 women’s majors, with just six players owning a better aggregate score across all three.
But a disappointing final round when primed to take her maiden major title at the KPMG Women’s PGA and fading on the weekend at the U.S. Women’s Open will doubtless have the Cavan star hungry to make amends and this is a course where accuracy and strategic nous take precedence. And Leona, of course, is a player who ranks highly across all statistical metrics barring driving distance, so should find the hilly and quirky nature of the Evian Resort Course very much up her alley.
The same can be said for Stephanie Meadow, though the Arizona-based Jordanstown woman averages nearly 13 yards more off the tee than her compatriot. Meadow has ventured across the pond just twice to tee it up at the Evian, but results of T29 and T40 in 2021 and 2022 respectively suggest that she’s more than capable of competing, especially when considering that the T29 came following a run of five missed cuts in six LPGA starts.
It’s on the greens where Meadow excels, however, ranking seventh in putts per green in regulation and seventh in putting average, and is she manages to find her groove this week, she could make odds of 175/1 seem extremely generous, just like she did when coming close to victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol in June.
2014 event winner Hyo-joo Kim starts as tournament favourite having never missed a cut here and added a runner-up in 2019 and a T3 here last year, with Nelly Korda and Rose Zhang next in the bookmakers’ fancies.
Korda, whose best result here was a T8 last year, arrives in hot form having cruised to victory in London on her last start and Zhang, set to make her fifth start as a pro, has a win and two major top-10s to her name.
Reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion Alissen Corpuz, recent LPGA Tour winner Linn Grant, and 2021 Evian Championship winner Minjee Lee are among the other big names in the all-star cast that will be covered by Sky Sports from 10:00 – 13:00 and 14:30 – 17:30 in rounds one and two, and from 10:30 – 16:00 on the weekend.
Maguire tees off at 11:51 Irish time in round one and 06:51 in round two, while Meadow begins at 08:03 on day one and 13:03 on day two.