Golf Australia

Aussies battle through soaked Evian Sunday

Hannah Green
Hannah Green on Sunday at the 2019 Evian Championship.

In the first women’s major since Hannah Green’s historic week at Hazeltine it’s back to reality as the Australian charge at the Evian Championship failed to get out of third gear.

But gritty Sunday finishes from Katherine Kirk, Hannah Green, Su Oh and Sarah Kemp have them ready to roll on to the year’s final major in Woburn next week.

Kirk, Green and Oh were three of just 29 players to shoot par or better in the ugly conditions on Sunday in Evian, on a golf course softened - and subsequently lengthened - by significant overnight rain.

It was Jin Young Ko who emerged victor from Sunday’s all-Korean final group, the 2018 Women’s Australian Open champ shooting a 4-under 67 to win by two at 15-under.

Rookie pro Jennifer Kupcho, who won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, roared home with a 66 of her own to finish T2 alongside China’s Shanshan Feng and Hyo Joo Kim.

After finishing T3 and T10 here in the past two years, Queensland’s Kirk added a T30 result to her Evian resumé with a Sunday 1-under-70.

A double-bogey at the par-4 4th was made worse by a bogey at the last after a distraction from the galleries.

But five birdies for the day and a combined 22 of 26 fairways hit over the weekend are encouraging signs for the three-time LPGA Tour winner heading into the AIG Women’s British Open at a tree-lined Woburn.

“It’s pretty darn close, there’s a lot of positives I can take away,” Kirk said.

“Everything’s going in the right direction.”

Not that she needed it, but her countrywoman Green’s heroics at Hazeltine last month have provided another small boost of motivation for Kirk - and the entire Australian contingent - at the game’s biggest events.

“I was super happy for her obviously,” Kirk said.

“My husband and I were watching, yelling at the ball on the TV.

“From an Aussie perspective, it inspires you. We can do great things when preparation meets opportunity.”

After making the cut on the number, a solid weekend has helped Green work her way back into some form following a month away from the tour.

She backed up yesterday’s 69 with a 1-under 70 on Sunday, lifting her alongside Kirk in 30th at 1-under for the week.

After hitting just 12 fairways in the first two days, Green hit 23 of 26 over the weekend.

For most of Sunday Green was eyeing off a top 20 finish before she notched her third double-bogey of the week late in the day at the par-5 7th.

But Green birdied the par-3 8th for the third time this week to finish on a high and ensure she’d finish in the red numbers.

The West Australian won’t leave Evian with any more major silverware in the suitcase but her debut as major champion is in the books and she can now focus on Woburn next week.

Also starting on the back nine, Victorian Su Oh played the first nine in even-par after finding the par-5 18th green in two led to birdie.

It was a pedestrian end to a frustratingly consistent week for the 23-year-old, Oh carding nine straight pars to sign for a second straight 71.

The T44 result is Oh’s highest finish in a major since last year’s Women’s British Open.

And Sarah Kemp bounced back brilliantly from a deflating third round 78, the Sydneysider all-but matching countrywoman Oh’s Sunday effort – if not for a bogey late in the peace.

Kemp also made the turn in even-par before rolling home with a string of pars, the 33-year-old making just a second bogey of the day on her third-last hole.

Kemp finished at 7-over for the tournament after rounds of 72, 69, 78 and today’s 72.

The good news is she’ll cash her first cheque from four major starts in 2019 with the opportunity to make more ground on the LPGA Tour’s season-long money list next week in England.

Minjee Lee, who missed the cut by two in Evian, will join Green, Kirk, Oh and Kemp in the field next week alongside another familiar Australian face, seven-time major champion Karrie Webb.

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