22 Jul 2022 | Professional golf |

Minjee Lee's quiet start at Evian

by Golf Australia

Minjee Lee r1 Evian image
Minjee Lee watches her drive at the 13th on day one of the Evian today. Photo: Getty

Minjee Lee’s thrust for a world No. 1 ranking and another major title began quietly at the Evian Resort in France overnight.

Australia’s Lee, the current world No. 2, shot a one-under par 70 with three birdies and two bogeys in the first round of the Amundi Evian Championship, where she is defending the title she won last year.

It puts her seven shots from the lead.

The leading Australian in round one was Sarah Kemp, who opened with a two-under par 69, while Steph Kyriacou matched Lee’s opening 70.

With an 8-under 63, tied for the second-lowest round in Amundi Evian Championship history, Japan’s Ayaka Furue holds the lead after the first round. Furue, a 22-year-old LPGA Tour rookie who has seven victories on the JLPGA Tour, carded nine birdies and one bogey on Thursday to surge into the lead at a major championship for the first time.

Her round ties three other 63s as the second-lowest round in Evian, behind 61s carded by Hyo Joo Kim (2014), Jeongeun Lee6 (2021) and Leona Maguire (2021). It is also tied for the third-lowest round in the history of women’s major championships.

“I like the course, and with the good vibes from last year I thought I would play good,” said Furue, who finished fourth in her Evian debut in 2021. “I played very well today.”

Major champions Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson are tied for second at 7 under with matching 64s. Korda was bogey-free on Thursday, choosing to wade into the water at No. 18 to secure a clutch up-and-down with her ball at the edge of the hazard.

“I was in between clubs there. It was either a 7 or a 6, and I didn't really want to go long, but didn't really think about if I didn't hit that 7 good it would go in the water,” said Korda, who said her feet felt very slimy after the shot. “I had a decent chance of getting it out on the green, so I just went for it, and saved par. Better than taking a drop, that's for sure.”

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