Evian ready to say au revoir to Septem­ber in France

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - GRAHAM DUN­BAR

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE The Evian Cham­pi­onship will bid farewell to Septem­ber, and hope­fully its bad weather, when the fi­nal women’s golf ma­jor of the sea­son starts Thurs­day.

It’s the fi­nal edi­tion of Evian be­fore it re­verts to its for­mer July slot in 2019, a move play­ers hope will avoid more weather-hit days like last year’s open­ing round, which was wiped out by a se­vere storm.

How­ever, rain and pos­si­ble thun­der­storms are fore­cast for the first round at the pic­turesque hill­side course over­look­ing Lake Geneva, af­ter Wed­nes­day’s fi­nal prac­tice was held in sun­shine and 28 C heat.

“It de­serves to be played in great con­di­tions,” de­fend­ing cham­pion Anna Nordqvist said Wed­nes­day. “It’s re­ally one of the best events we have all year.”

Nordqvist won her sec­ond ca­reer ma­jor last year in a play­off through a hail­storm that was chill­ing even to a na­tive Swede.

“Ev­ery­one who has grown up in Europe knows that Septem­ber can be a lit­tle sketchy. July is go­ing to be great,” she said.

The 2017 edi­tion saw Thurs­day ’s round stopped be­cause of the storm be­fore all scores were struck and a Fri­day restart was or­dered. Twice in its five years as a ma­jor, Evian be­came a 54-hole event.

Evian is also the last chance for a United States golfer to win a women’s ma­jor this sea­son. The pre­vi­ous four went to Euro­pean or Asian golfers: The ANA In­spi­ra­tion to Pernilla Lind­berg of Swe­den, the U.S. Women’s Open to sec­ond-ranked Ariya Ju­tanu­garn of Thai­land, the U.S. Women’s PGA to top-ranked Sung Hyun Park of South Korea, and a crowd-pleas­ing English win for Ge­or­gia Hall at the Bri­tish Women’s Open.

Since the French event’s sta­tus was raised to a fifth ma­jor in 2013, Amer­i­can play­ers have won at least one of them each year.

Only two of 21 tour­na­ments had Amer­i­can win­ners since the LPGA Tour re­turned to the U.S. in March from a swing through Asia.

Brooke Hen­der­son

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