Evian (France) (AFP)
Thai golfers topped the Evian Championship standings on Thursday with Pajaree Anannarukarn leading with a six-under on par 65 and a share of the lead in the first round.
American Yealimi Noh was on the same path, but among the closest pursuers were the Thai trio of Atthaya Thitikul (66), former world number 1 Ariya Jutanugarn (67) and her older sister Moriya (68). .
Pajaree has had a few top ten on the LPGA Tour this season and was the only player to produce a bogey free spin.
“It was great there,” said the 22-year-old in her third season as a professional.
“There is a long way to go and I just hope I can go out and do the same tomorrow. “
Atthaya is already a star in her homeland.
As a 14-year-old amateur, she won the 2017 Thailand Championship on the Ladies European Tour to become the youngest player to win a professional golf tournament.
In 2018, she was the best amateur of the Women’s British Open.
She repeated the Thailand Championship victory at the age of 16 in 2019 and, turning pro in 2020, added a third LET victory at the Czech Open last month.
“I played here at 14 (she missed the cup) so I know the course a little bit,” said the 18-year-old, who was tied at five for third place with five under par. .
“I try not to put too much pressure on myself. Go out and enjoy it. “
The Jutanugarns are on a roll after an emotional victory at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational team event last weekend.
This meant that they did not arrive in Evian until a day later than expected on Monday.
“I started on the last nine and didn’t start very well but the first nine were much better,” said Ariya, two-time major champion who ended her lap with a chip shot for an eagle in the ninth. .
Noh started his day in a spectacular style, hammering a new iron for an eagle two at the opening hole.
“I’ve never done this before, but it is sometimes difficult when you start so well,” she said.
“You want to take advantage of it. I’m really happy with the round – just hope I can open again with an eagle tomorrow. “
Some of the biggest names struggled on Thursday.
World number one Nelly Korda, a contender for a second consecutive major tournament after winning the LPGA title last month, got a breath of fresh air in a bunker – she hit the sinking bank – and signed for a 74.
The older sister Jessica was just a hit.
Park Inbee, who will try to win a second straight Olympic gold medal in Tokyo later this month, managed a double bogey seven in the 18th for a disappointing 71.
Fellow South Korean Ko Jin-young, the defending champion, also needs to improve to ensure he reaches the weekend.
The world number two managed five bogeys in an above par 72.
© 2021 AFP