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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the Evian

The final women's major of the year kicks off in just a couple of days. The Evian Championship usually gives us some real drama at the end of the major season, and I expect this one to be no different.

So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park

This event is played at Evian Resort Golf Club, in beautiful Evian-les-Bains, France. The defending champion is In Gee Chun, who you may remember set the major scoring record of 21-under. (And yes, that's the record for both women AND men. To quote Darth Vader, "Impressive. Very impressive.") And as usual, Tony Jesselli has a preview of the event at his website.

The big story this week -- for most fans, anyway -- is the three gals in the photo. Any of the Top3 in the Rolex Rankings -- So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park -- could be #1 by the end of this major. But I think there will be some other, equally big storylines to watch...

And some of those players are in my "5 to Watch."
  • The first story on my list is Lydia Ko. No, Lydia hasn't had a bad year but we expect her to dominate. Last week she showed signs that her game may finally be coming back, and Evian was her first major back in 2015. Definitely a storyline to watch.
  • Georgia Hall is high on my watch list this week. After playing so well at the RICOH Women's British and the Solheim Cup, I think she may be ready to take the next step. Evian has been kind to first timers, and Georgia definitely has the game.
  • Evian is a ballstriker's course, and Danielle Kang is clearly a ballstriker. She picked up her first major earlier this year, and I think she's had enough time to come down from the emotions of the Solheim Cup. I wouldn't be surprised to see her double up and make both of her first two wins majors.
  • Lexi Thompson is a streaky player and she's certainly on a streak lately. In her last ten events she has two wins and three runner-ups. Coming off that impressive win at Indy, I don't expect her to have any letdown. This is her chance to pick up the one she missed at the ANA.
  • And for my flier... Moriya Jutanugarn. Ariya's older sister has been a Top10 machine this year. I know she hasn't won on the LPGA yet, but neither had Danielle and look what she did! Evian isn't long but it's hilly and the greens are contoured (boy, is THAT an understatement!), which plays right into her game.
The last three majors have had first-time major winners. I think that trend continues, so I'm picking... Georgia Hall. She's proven that she, like Danielle Kang, can handle the pressure. And I think she'll do just that.

Because of the time difference, GC's Evian coverage starts at 5am ET early Thursday morning. However, after three hours of early round coverage, they'll be back with late round coverage at 9:30am ET for another three hours. Lots of major golf this week!