All things Evian — Hometown heroes Pauline Roussin-Bouchard and Celine Boutier — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, July 21, 2022
Welcome back to Golf Thursday, where this week, we are breaking down of the fourth major of the year — the Amundi Evian Championship. So, yes, that means predictions are back, baby! I’ll be discussing the course, who’s playing this week (and who isn’t), this year’s purse total, and how to follow along over the weekend. Let’s dive in!
The Course: Evian Resort Golf Club
The championship gained its major status in 2013, but this course has history dated back to 1994. The original name of the tournament was the Evian Masters and was exclusively an event for the Ladies European Tour. In the year 2000, it was co-sanctioned by the LPGA and the LET.
The course is a par-71, tucked away between the Alps and Lake Geneva.
Over the years, modifications to the greens to make them firmer and the addition of bunkers will require players to be precise off the tee and with their approach shots — otherwise the rough will eat them (more like their clubs) alive.
The Field: Players to watch
Minjee Lee is the defending champ and a major winner already this season — all eyes will be on her this week and rightfully so. Since her win in Evian-les-Bains last year, she’s had 13, top-20 finishes and has won twice in 2022. She’s also leading the tour in Strokes Gained Total (2.610), Strokes Gained Tee to Green (3.44) and Strokes Gained Approach Around the Green (2.680).
When talking to the media earlier in the week, Minjee had this to say about where she is in her game: “I feel like I’m in a really good place with my game. Mentally I’m in a good place as well. I feel like everything is kind of coming together really well. I really worked hard for all of this, so I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully it keeps paying off.”
I’m also clocking in on Pauline Roussin-Bouchard and Celine Boutier who have the “home team” advantage with the fans, as well as a deep playing history with the course. More on what this week means to them is featured in this week’s Five at The IX.
We also have the heavy hitters who have been making noise all year long like Lydia Ko, Jennifer Kupcho, Nelly Korda and Jin Young Ko. Despite having fizzled out as the season progresses, both Lydia Ko and Jin Young Ko have won the Evian title and I think they could be contenders.
Kupcho is hot off a win at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational with partner Lizette Salas, giving her, her third victory of the season. She will definitely be a threat if she’s in a good spot headed into the third and fourth rounds.
As for Nelly…well I’ll just leave this here:
There are also amateurs like Rose Zhang and Rachel Heck of Stanford, Jensen Castle from the University of Kentucky, and ANWA winner Anna Davis in the field this week.
Notable players who are missing this week are Danielle Kang, who is still battling with the tumor on her spine and Lexi Thompson. Thompson’s absence is unknown and unfortunate but she has been very vocal on the conditions of the course in the past.
The full list of players can be found here.
The players will compete for a $6.5 million purse — a $2 million increase on 2021 and a $2.4 increase on 2019. The winner will receive $1 million.
Coverage of the tournament
Players are probably already out and about as you’re reading this but TV coverage of the Amundi Evian Championship can be found on the Golf Channel and CNBC. For streaming, head to NBCSports app, Golfchannel.com, and NBCSports.com.
Both links include coverage start time, happy viewing!
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This week in women’s golf
If you have links you wish to share for Golf Thursday, sources for golf news, or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at email@example.com ! Discussion of any kind is always welcome…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!
OPINION: Should LPGA titles be stripped away decades later? Jane Blalock and Sandra Palmer would like their records restored.
Ever wonder what champion golfers do when they aren’t sinking putts or making this game look easy? Well In Gee Chun shares a glimpse at what her favorite hobby is!
Stay up to date with the KPMG Performance insights for the season so far. Giving her mentality and just the statistics of how she’s been playing…Minjee Lee is in perfect position to make some noise this week.
Céline Boutier will be seeking home glory this week as she looks to become the first French winner of The Amundi Evian Championship, played at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France.
Anna Nordqvist is the 2022 Big Green Egg Open champion after a final round score of 72 saw the Swede take a one-shot victory in The Netherlands on Sunday.
Epson Tour News
Brynn Walker, Epson player and LPGA.com contributor, shares on her “haven away from home”.
Megha Ganne is a woman of class and integrity after disqualifying herself in the US Girls Junior Am.
Five at The IX: Pauline Roussin-Bouchard and Celine Boutier are back in France
Q. What’s the feelings being back here (France) now as a professional?
PAULINE ROUSSIN-BOUCHARD: I think it’s fun. I think it’s exciting. I was talking to my dad this morning and I was like, it’s nice because obviously I know more people on tour so it’s nice to be in this kind of atmosphere where you know more people and it’s like very friendly.
And compared to the two other editions where I was still an amateur and I was like, oh, wow, this is the adults world. I was like, okay. I was kind of shy.
Now I’m just like I’m just belonging to the tour and really enjoying that quite a lot. Yeah, I think it’s just fun.
Q. Tell me about your history with this. Obviously third edition of this championship, but this golf course. Been playing here since, what, ten years old?
PAULINE ROUSSIN-BOUCHARD: Yeah, 2010 for my first Haribo Kids Cup, and then played 2011, 2012, and 2014 for like the Evian champ under-14. And then, what else?
I played the Jabra on the LET. So I played quite a lot, yeah.
Q. Does coming back here where you’re so familiar, do you know like every blade of grass on this golf course?
PAULINE ROUSSIN-BOUCHARD: I do know a lot. Yes. I played from every single tee box.
Q. Do you think that gives you an advantage? I feel like some players come out here never having played this place; you know what to expect with the rough, the slopes that you may be getting in the fairways.
PAULINE ROUSSIN-BOUCHARD: I mean, I think it’s — it still has to evolve until Thursday. The greens are going to get faster, rough are going to be thicker. Obviously difficulty of that golf course is the rough, how bumpy, slopey the greens can be. The grain can be very tricky.
So I mean, it helps that I know a little bit of that, but definitely it’s still the same characteristics that you find.
Q. I know you took a few weeks off now. When did you come to France and how was your preparation for this event?
CELINE BOUTIER: Yeah, I got here I guess to France last Wednesday or Thursday, so I had few days at home before heading here. It was just nice to be able to relax for a little bit before coming here.
Obviously I’ve come here for a few years now so I know the course, but it’s nice to have a few days to adjust and just remind yourself where to hit the ball and where not to hit the ball.
Yeah, it’s been good to adjust a little bit, and ready to go.
Q. This is your sixth time playing here, fourth time as a professional, twice as an amateur. Not too often I don’t think necessarily you get to play at home in France anymore. What are some of your best memories of getting to play in your home country and do you get to play in front of your family this week?
CELINE BOUTIER: So, yes, my family is here. My parents and my sister are here. I don’t really get to come back that much, but definitely my highlight would be my win at the French Open last year, which was definitely a special week for me.
Other than that, I think my first year playing here in 2014 when I was still an amateur was special because it was the first time I got to play Evian and the major, just seeing everybody, just like the professionals, the ones you look up to on TV. It was definitely a cool experience.
And I got to play the practice rounds with Suzann Pettersen, and she was the defending champ that year and it was my first time playing at Evian, so that was surreal.
Q. Every major adds pressure to your competition. How much added pressure do you feel playing a major in your home country, and how does it compare to an American playing in the U.S. Open or the U.K. players playing in the AIG Women’s Open? What sort of pressure do you feel as a French player here?
CELINE BOUTIER: I definitely feel a little bit more added pressure, but also because I want to perform well and it means a lot more to me, and so obviously if it means more you’re going to have a little bit more pressure I think.
Not necessarily think it’s a bad thing, it’s just something you have to learn, and especially I think the more you experience it the better you will be able to handle it.
So now it’s been like six times, like you said. I hope I’ve learned and I can do better. It’s definitely not a course I’ve really performed well in the past, so I’m hoping that I can change that.
But it’s definitely a little bit more — a little bit different than other weeks for sure.
Q. Not to put pressure on you, but no French woman has ever taken this title. Would that be pretty cool to be the first?
CELINE BOUTIER: Yeah, it definitely would. It’s definitely on top of my list.
But honestly, I feel like the best way for me to perform is not to think about it too much; just really take it one day at a time and see.
It’s so hard to win out here, so if I have at least chance it would already be nice. If I can make it happen it would be obviously the ultimate dream. I’m trying not to get too much ahead of myself.
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