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Evian Championship

Five players to watch at the 2022 Amundi Evian Championship

By Keely Levins
The LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour join up once again for the fourth women’s major of the year — the Amundi Evian Championship in France. The top five players of 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 $6.5 million purse. In 2021, the tournament ended in a playoff after Autralia’s 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 South Korean Jeongeun 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 at the Evian Resort Golf Club:

Minjee Lee

Minjee Lee. Sarah Stier

Lee is the defending champion, having started a major roll in France last summer 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 of the majors, the 26-year-old 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.

Leona Maguire

Leona Maguire. David Cannon

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.

Jennifer Kupcho

Jennifer Kupcho. Supplied

The 25-year-old from Colorado has already won three times in 2022, making her the most successful 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 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the US Women’s Open.

Jin Young Ko

Jin Young Ko. Douglas P DeFelice

The World No. 1 won the first event she played in 2022 but hasn’t won since. Her best finish in a major was fourth at the US Women’s Open, and she remains in the top five on tour in strokes gained/total on tour. Heading into the Evian, where Ko, 27, won in 2019, it feels like it’s time for the 2021 Player of the Year to win again.

Atthaya Thitikul

Atthaya Thitikul. Getty Images

The 19-year-old rookie from Thailand has one win this year and has been close on several other occasions. She quietly finsihed two shots back of In Gee Chun at the KPMG 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.

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