Players to follow on Evian

This Thursday, the world’s best golfers will meet at the Evian Resort Golf Club in France for the Amundi Evian Championship, the fourth of five major LPGA Tour events in 2022.

This year’s big winners include Jennifer Kupcho (Chevron Championship), Minji Lee (US Women’s Open) and In Ji Chun (KMPG Women’s PGA Championship). The final major, AIG Women’s Open, will take place in early August.

At last year’s championship, Evian Minjee Lee defeated Jeongeun Lee6 on the first hole of the playoffs to claim her first Major. Minji Lee fired 64 shots in the final round to win back seven shots to win the title.

Here’s who to watch this week:

Korda, ex No. 1 and 2021 Olympian had a year that she would surely like to forget.

In January, she contracted Covid-19, which kept her out of the field for some time during the off-season.

Then, in March, she underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her left arm. Korda did not return to the LPGA tour until the US Women’s Open in early June, where she placed eighth. A couple of months ago, she was not sure that she would have time to return to that tournament.

Two weeks later, the 23-year-old Korda lost in the playoffs to Kupcho at the Meijer LPGA Classic. In each of her first three rounds, Korda shot five under or under, but she cooled off in the last round, firing an even-par 72. In late June, she placed 30th at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She is ranked No. 1 of 3.

Korda, whose older sister Jessica also plays on the LPGA Tour, has two big tournaments left and still has a chance to make this year memorable in a different way.

Lee, ranked #2 seems to be a factor in almost every major these days.

So it was at KPMG last month, where she had a chance to win her third major title in less than a year.

Being six strokes behind before the final round, she put pressure on the leaders. Lee, however, missed the decisive 4-foot ball on move 17, walking away in dismay. She rebounded with a birdie at 18, but finished in a tie with Lexi Thompson, trailing In Ji Chun.

Lee, 26, who made her pro debut at the 2014 Evian Championship (16th in that tournament), grew up in Perth, Australia. She took up the game at the age of 10, and in 2012 won the U.S. Junior Girls Championship. Just two years later, she rose to become No. 1 amateur in the world.

It’s true: Ko recently had a disappointing run at KPMG where she recorded 76 and 79 rounds over the weekend and finished in a tie in 46th place. But besides this, Co.the former No. 1 this season is playing very well.

Prior to KMPG, the New Zealander had finished fifth or higher in four of her last five appearances. Out of 12 starts, KPMG was the only tournament in which she placed below 25th.

Ko, who won the Gainbridge LPGA in late January, beating Danielle Kang by a stroke, is only 25 years old. It’s hard to imagine, given how long it’s been around. Koh was Tour Rookie in 2014 and Player of the Year in 2015, the youngest player on both occasions. That 2015 season ended with a victory in the Evian Championship, her first major title.

Like many top players, she had her struggles. After 15 career wins in 2018, Ko didn’t win again until the 2021 Lotte Championship. During this dry period, she dropped to 55th in the world rankings; now she has risen to no. four.

Per Titiculum, newcomer this year, the future may come sooner than she thinks. Maybe it’s even already here.

Only 19 years old, Titikul from Thailand now ranks first in the rankings. 5 in the world. At KPMG, she finished fourth, just two shots behind Chun. Earlier this year, Titicul took her first tour win at the JTBC Classic. It probably didn’t go quite the way she’d imagined—she set up a bogeyman in the second hole of the playoffs to beat Nanna Kurtz Madsen—but a win is a win. With this win, Titicul became the youngest LPGA Tour winner since Brooke Henderson in 2016.

“Now I’m just crazy,” Titicul later said. “I can’t believe I’m an LPGA winner.”

In 2017, when she won the European Women’s Championship in Thailand, Titikul became the youngest winner of the Women’s European Tour. She was 14 years, four months and 19 days old at the time.

In June, Kupcho won a three-way playoff with Nelly Korda and Leona Maguire in the Meijer LPGA Classic.

Kupcho, No. 1.9, almost blew it that day, missing a short eagle shot on the first playoff hole that would have ended the competition on the spot. Some players may have been thrilled after such a failure. Not Kupcho. On the second playoff hole, she hit another birdie and then pulled out the win when Maguire missed a short shot that would have extended the match.

Kupcho, who teamed with Lysette Salas to win the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational last week, picked up her first career win in April at the Chevron Championship. She had problems with her back nine, but she started the day with a six-stroke lead.

For the next two months, she clearly did not play her best, failing to break into top 15 in any of her six events.

Kupcho had a distinguished amateur career, winning both the 2018 NCAA Player of the Year award and Augusta’s first national female amateur in 2019. She turned professional later that year, and in 2021 joined US players as they faced the Europeans in the Solheim Cup.