Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela seems to have finally figured out Evian Resort Golf Club. The 24-year-old fired a 7-under 64 on Moving Day in Evian-les-Bains with eight birdies and one bogey on the card, her lowest round ever in a major championship. Valenzuela also tied her lowest career round on the LPGA Tour as well as the second-lowest round of the week at the Amundi Evian Championship. This week marks Valenzuela’s seventh start in the event and her second time teeing it up as a professional. She’s only made the cut one other time, finishing T37 in 2019 as an amateur, and looks ahead to the final round with a “cool as a cucumber” attitude, a mindset that hasn’t always been the norm for the former Stanford University standout.
“I had a little bit of a slap in the face in Hawaii. My ball striking was incredible and I just couldn't score. I don't think I was as happy,” said Valenzuela who hit 13 of 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens on day three in Evian. “After Palos Verdes, I stayed with my college roommates and found that balance again of me, Albane as a young woman and me, Albane as a golfer are not the same. They don't have to be mutually exclusive. It was just going back to enjoying playing golf. I think I have a renewed passion for the game. I love it so much but I probably love it more than I ever have in its highs and its lows.”
Sitting at No. 57 in the Race to the CME Globe, Valenzuela has had two top-10 finishes thus far in 2022, a tie for ninth at the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America and a career-best tie for fourth at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. While she’ll have quite a bit of ground to make up on Sunday to chase down 54-hole leader Brooke Henderson, Valenzuela is looking forward to the challenge and is savoring playing so well just across the lake from her home country.
“If (Brooke) shoots 64 and wins the tournament, she deserves it more than anyone. If I don't play great tomorrow, I don't play great tomorrow. But if I play great, great. There is next week so that's my mindset,” she said. “Being back in Switzerland, this is a country I represent, the country I chose to play golf for, and I just love coming back here. This is really home, I think, at heart so it just means the world to be competing here.”