History beckons for Moriya
Thai leads at Evian as sister Ariya misses cut
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE: Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand shot three-under 68 to lead the Evian Championship second round on Saturday, and could join her younger sister Ariya in golf’s record books.
Seeking to be the first sisters to win a major title, Moriya’s nine-under total left her one shot ahead of Ayako Uehara of Japan, who had seven birdies for a 66.
The leading group on the final day is completed by Katherine Kirk of Australia, who carded a 69 to trail Moriya by two strokes. All three playing partners will seek their first major.
Victory for Moriya — who has a careerbest finish of 10th at a major — would make the Jutanugarns the first sisters to win a major since the US LPGA Tour was founded 67 years ago.
Ariya, who was top-ranked this season, won the 2016 Women’s British Open. The world No.4 however was unable to join her sister in the final round after a secondround 74 left her nine over and far below the cut line. She has now missed the cut in four consecutive majors.
“I probably don’t feel that bad playing on the golf course rather than watching my sister play,” said Moriya, who recalled feeling “nervous, excited” last year when finishing her round to watch Ariya win at Woburn, England.
Two pairs of brothers have won major titles, though not for more than 50 years.
Lionel and Jay Hebert of the US each won a US PGA Championship, in 1957 and 1960, respectively. The Park brothers of Scotland, Mungo and Willie, won backto-back British Opens in 1874 and 1875. That was Willie Park’s fourth Open title.
The fifth women’s major of the season is a 54-hole event after weather-affected play on Thursday was wiped from the record.
Moriya had chances to match her 65 from Friday’s first round though let birdie chances slip after consistently accurate approach shots.
“I played pretty solid today,” Moriya said, “couldn’t make a little more putts.”
Uehara is ranked only No.163 yet her 14 birdies so far are two more than anyone else on the rain-softened Evian Resort course looking across Lake Geneva to Switzerland.
A strong trio of recent major winners are on six under, three shots back, and were to play together on the last day.
First-round leader Park Sung-Hyun, the US Women’s Open champion, followed her 63 with a 73. Former No.1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, the 2015 Evian winner, carded a second 68. Women’s British Open winner Kim In-Kyung bogeyed the parfour 18th in her round of 69.
Park has already played two days in a stellar group of the world’s three highestranked players with No.1 Ryu So-Yeon, her fellow South Korean, and No.2 Lexi Thompson of the US.
Thompson (72) is level par and Ryu shot a 69 to make the cut at two over. Ryu acknowledged letting it affect her that she had been leading on Thursday when play was suspended and then scrapped.
“It was really hard to stop [thinking] about it,” the top-ranked Ryu said. “For my situation it was unfair. I just need to just accept it.”
Chun In-Gee of South Korea shot a second straight 70 to be two under.
Moriya Jutanugarn hits a shot from the 18th fairway during the second round.