MAJOR GLORY ON THE LINE AT EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
It’s a true battle of major champions at the 2019 Evian Championship, with Sunday’s final two groups holding a combined 12 major championship titles. Leading the charge is 2014 Evian champion Hyo Joo Kim, who carded a third-round 65 to jump to the top of the leaderboard at -15. Kim already owns the 18-hole scoring record with her first-round 61 in 2014 and should she take the win, she would become the first player to win multiple Evian titles since it was elevated to major status in 2013.
“I definitely have good memories of this tournament because of my win,” said Kim, who birdied four of her closing six holes to take the lead. “That year I was able to go out on the LPGA Tour because I got my card, so I definitely have good memories. I'm going to keep that going into tomorrow and forget everything else.”
Just moments before torrential rains hit Evian Resort Golf Club, two-time major champion Sung Hyun Park made a birdie at No. 18 for a third-round 66 and pulled within one stroke of her Korean countrywoman. Lee and Park will be joined in Sunday’s final group by 2019 ANA Inspiration champion Jin Young Ko, who is tied for third at -11 with seven-time major winner Inbee Park. Park will play in the penultimate group, alongside 2012 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner Shanshan Feng and Mi Hyang Lee, the lone player in the top six without a major title. Feng and Lee are tied for fifth at -10.
Ariya Jutanugarn shot the round of the day with a 7-under 64 and jumped from a tie for 31st into a tie for eighth at -8. The Thai star will play in the third-to-last group with Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall (-9) and American Megan Khang (-8).
PAST CHAMP HYO JOO KIM HAS WINNING ON THE MIND
The heavy rain held off until the final group arrived on the 18 green and rain started to fall while Hyo Joo Kim was standing over her 5-meter birdie putt. Wanting to avoid the rain, Kim made her putt without a practice swing and ended up two-putting for par.
“I start worrying about the rain on No. 17. We were able to tee off on the last hole and it didn't start until I was getting ready to putt, so I am very, very happy that I was able to finish the round before the rain started to pour really bad,” said Kim, who carded a third-round 6-under 65 and leads by one stroke heading into the final round. “I just wanted to finish as quick as possible. With the onset of thunder, yeah, just came a lot quicker than I thought. Tried to make [my putt] as quick as possible.”
Kim won the 2014 Evian Championship as a member of the KLPGA Tour. The win earned Kim full status on the LPGA Tour for the 2015 season. She will take that experience into the final round Sunday as she plays alongside Rolex Rankings No. 1 Sung Hyun Park and 2019 ANA Inspiration winner Jin Young Ko.
“When I won in 2014, I was a little bit nervous. It seems like this year I'm in the same position,” said Kim. “Obviously winning is on my mind a lot, but I've won before, and so that will help my confidence for tomorrow. I just need to be focused, and it would be really nice if I played well tomorrow.”
SUNG HYUN PARK COULD JOIN ELITE LIST OF MAJOR MASTERS
Only seven players have won the Career Grand Slam, which is victories in four different LPGA majors, and only two other players have three different major titles. Sung Hyun Park has already won the U.S. Women’s Open and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and should she emerge victorious on Sunday at the Evian Championship, she would come one step closer to joining that elite group of dominating players.
“I'm satisfied with the way I played the first three rounds. I think that my putts are getting better,” said Park, who finished her third-round 66 moments before torrential rains hit Evian Resort Golf Club. “Of the three days, I think today was the best day with my shots.”
Park and Hyo Joo Kim swapped the lead throughout Saturday’s third round, with Park ultimately ending the day one stroke behind her Korean compatriot. She is no stranger to come-from-behind major wins. Park was four strokes back heading into the final round during her KPMG victory, and notched her U.S. Women’s Open win off a three-stroke deficit.
So how does the No. 1 player prep for what is sure to be a difficult major battle? It’s simple. “I don't really do anything. I just lie on my bed and read comics,” she said with a smile.
WITH A WIN…
Hyo Joo Kim would earn the fourth win of her LPGA Tour career and her second win at the Evian Championship, joining her victory in 2014
Kim would become the first player to win multiple Evian titles since it became a major in 2014; Helen Alfredsson (1994, 1998 and 2008), Laura Davies (1995, 1996) and Annika Sorenstam (2000, 2002) won multiple Evian Masters titles, conducted prior to the tournament being elevated to major status
With the $615,000 winner check, Kim is projected to move from 96th to 78th on the All-Time Money List with $4,129,750 and become the 84th player in LPGA Tour history to cross the $4 million threshold
Sung Hyun Park would earn the eighth win of her LPGA Tour career and become the first three-time winner of the 2019 season
Park would earn her third major title, joining the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship; she now needs wins at the ANA Inspiration or AIG Women’s British Open to complete the Career Grand Slam and victories at both to complete the Super Career Grand Slam (only seven players have completed the Career Grand Slam and only Karrie Webb has completed the Super Career Grand Slam).
With the $615,000 winner’s check, Park is projected to move from 65th to 56th on the All-Time Money List with $5,656,213
Jin Young Ko would take her second major of 2019, joining the ANA Inspiration; the last time a player won multiple majors in one season was 2015, when Inbee Park won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the AIG Women’s British Open
Inbee Park would become the first player to win both the Evian Masters and the Evian Championship; she won the Evian Masters in 2012, the last year before it became a major
ROLEX WOMEN’S WORLD GOLF RANKINGS PROJECTIONS
Two players have a mathematical chance to overtake Rolex Rankings World No. 1 Sung Hyun Park based on their finish at The Evian Championship. NOTE: There may be additional possibilities with tie scenarios and separate projection scenarios would need to be run to check.
- Rolex Rankings No. 2 Jin Young Ko (T6 through 36 holes)
- Win and have Sung Hyun Park finish solo third or worse
- Solo second and have Sung Hyun Park finish solo 44th or worse and Inbee Park does not win
- Rolex Rankings No. 7 Inbee Park (T2 through 36 holes)
- Must win and have Sung Hyun Park finish solo fifth or worse
With a win, Nelly Korda (T47) and Jessica Korda (T24) have an opportunity to pass Lexi Thompson in the Rolex Rankings to become the highest-ranked American.
Rolex Rankings No. 18 Hyo Joo Kim (69-64-65)
- Kim’s 54-hole score of 198 is her best 54-hole score of this event; she previously shot a 2016 in 2014 en route to her victory
- Her 36-hole 133 ties her best 36-score of the event; she previously shot a 133 in 2014 where she went on to win the event
- She hit 11 of 13 fairways and 11 of 18 greens, with 23 putts
- Kim is in her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she is a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour. Her most previous win came at the 2016 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
- This is Kim’s 12th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she has three top-5 finishes and five top-10 finishes with a best finish of T2 at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G
- She is competing in her seventh Evian Championship; she won the event as a non-member in 2014 and earned Category 3 LPGA status for the 2015 season while a member of the KLPGA
- Kim shot the lowest round ever in a major championship, 10-under 61, in the first round of the 2014 Evian Championship
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Sung Hyun Park (67-66-66)
- Park’s 54-hole score of 199 is her second-lowest 54-hole score in her four Evian appearances; her best was 198 in 2016 where she went on to finish T2
- Park’s second round 66 is the second-lowest round in her four Evian appearances; her best was a 63 in the first rounds in 2016 and 2017
- Her 36-hole 133 is her second-lowest 36-hole score at The Evian Championship; she previously shot a 131 in 2016 where she finished in a tie for second
- She hit 10 of 13 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Park is in her third season on the LPGA Tour; she has seven career victories, including two major victories at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
- This is Park’s 13th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she won the 2019 HSBC Women’s World Championship and 2019 Walmart NW Arkansas presented by P&G and has three other top-10 finishes
- She is competing in her fourth Evian Championship; she missed the cut in 2018, she tied for 26th in 2017 and tied for second in 2016
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Jin Young Ko (65-71-66)
- Ko’s 54-hole score of 202 is her lowest 54-hole score of The Evian Championship; her previous best was 212 in 2015 where she went on to finish 28th
- Ko’s first-round 65 is the lowest round in her four Evian appearances; her previous best was a 68 in the fourth round in 2018 and the first round in 2016
- She hit eight of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 26 putts
- Ko is in her second season on the LPGA Tour; she has four career victories, including the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup and 2019 ANA Inspiration
- This is Ko’s 15th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she won the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup and 2019 ANA Inspiration and has five other top-10 finishes
- She is competing in her fourth Evian Championship; she tied for 26th in 2018, tied for 39th in 2016 and finished 28th in 2015
Rolex Rankings No. 7 Inbee Park (65-68-69)
- Park’s 54-hole 202 is two strokes better than her previous best; in 2018, she shot a 204
- Park’s 36-hole 133 is her best 36-hole score of The Evian Championship; she previously shot a 137 in 2018 where she went on to finish T8
- Park’s first-round 65 is the second-lowest round in her 10 Evian appearances; she shot a 64 in the second round en route to victory in 2012
- She hit 11 of 13 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 30 putts
- Park is in her 13th season on the LPGA Tour; she has 19 wins, including the 2012 Evian Masters, and seven major wins, most recently at the 2015 AIG Women’s British Open
- This is Park’s 12th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is a tie for second at the Kia Classic
- She is competing in her 10th Evian Championship; she won the 2012 Evian Masters and has three other top-10 finishes, including a tie for eighth in 2018
- 20 players in the top 20 represent six different countries (Republic of Korea, China, Sweden, Thailand, Spain, England)
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS*
18 holes: 61, Hyo Joo Kim, first round, 2014
36 holes: 129, In Gee Chun, 2016
54 holes: 194, In Gee Chun, 2016
72 holes: 263, In Gee Chun, 2016
*Since becoming an LPGA major championship in 2013