Amundi Evian Championship, 30 years of happiness!

Amundi Evian Championship, 30 years of happiness!
Amundi Evian Championship, 30 years of happiness!
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Having become the only Major tournament played in continental Europe (men and women combined) in 2013, the Amundi Evian Championship is celebrating its 30th anniversary this week as Céline Boutier (photo) defends her title. A magnificent collective success driven by Franck Riboud, the tournament president!

L.V. à Evian

How time flies! 30 years ago, Antoinethe father, and Franck Riboudthe son, took on the challenge of setting up a benchmark women’s tournament in their home country, in Haute-Savoie, a few months after the initial idea, in this case an all-male pro-am, had turned into a fiasco.

Driven by the best French players of the moment but also European ones such as the English Laura Daviesmultiple winner of Majors and then standard-bearer of women’s golf on the Old Continent, this event named Evian Mastersfirst listed on the calendar of Ladies European Tour (LET), took off seriously by becoming a double-badge in the year 2000 LPGA/LET.

This is the first major turn taken by this event scheduled for the end of July and popular with players from the LPGA, pampered by the organization, with the most illustrious of them staying at the Royal Hotel, built at the beginning of the 20th century at the same time as the course, born in 1904 and majestically overlooking Lake Geneva.

Repositioned in July after several hiccups in September…

But the real turning point came in 2011 when Mike Whanthen the boss of the US Women’s Circuit, dubbed the tournament a Grand Slam version. This decision was definitively enacted from 2013, giving the Evian Masters, renamed Evian Championship for the occasion, the identity of the 5th Major of the season. Given a very tight schedule on the LPGA, it finds its place in the first half of September but the weather, frankly bad during the 2013 and 2017 editions (format reduced to 54 holes), forces both the LPGA and the organizers of the only Major played in continental Europe (men and women combined) to move the 2019 edition to the end of July. Slot occupied by the Evian Masters from 1994 to 2002.

Cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament led by the very complementary pair Franck Riboud-Jacques Bungertis getting a new name with the arrival of Amundi as title sponsor in 2021. TheAmundi Evian Championship takes a little more height still by seeing its endowment climb almost from year to year, matching as much as possible its own to those practiced on the other Majors. Increased to 6.5 million dollars in 2022, it is today 8 million, now close on the heels of theAIG Women’s Open (9 million) and getting closer to the two “leaders”, theUS Women’s Open (12 million) and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (10,4 millions).

Céline Boutier: only one top 10 in 2024

Left last year with a check for 1 million dollars, Celine Boutierthe defending champion, will try to increase her nest egg by $200,000 in 2024. The task will nevertheless not be easy for the Frenchwoman who sets off this Thursday for her 39th Major, her 8th personal Evian Championship.

His recent Major outings have hardly been crowned with success in 2024: missed cut at Chevron58th at the US Women’s Open, 19th at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. And what about the current season on the LPGA where she has so far only had one top 10. A 2nd place obtained on March 3 at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. In her defense, the Francilienne living in Dallas (Texas) has only missed one cut in fourteen starts. Not everyone can say the same.

5 out of 5 for Delacour and Roussin-Bouchard

Three other French women are at the start this week. They have all three received an invitation. 78th in the world, Perrine Delacour is setting off for her 5th Amundi Evian Championship. Her goal? To make the cut, of course, and do better than this 54th place in 2022, the only time she qualified for the weekend.

Returning to the Ladies European Tour (LET) this year after losing her right to play at the end of 2023 on the LPGA, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard also lined up her 5th personal Evian Championship. Unlike Delacour, she made the cut three times in four attempts while finishing quite far from the places of honor: 38th in 2021, 72nd in 2022, 54th in 2023.

For her second Major after the US Women’s Open at the end of May where she found herself 2nd after eighteen holes (before finishing 67th), Adela Cernousekonly 20 years old, does not discover the Champions Course of the’Evian Resort Golf Club. The university champion NCAA This year had thus participated in The Amundi Evian Juniors Cup in 2017.

Nelly Korda’s return to business…

Facing these four French golfers is a field of 128 opponents (there are 132 at the start). At the top of the list of favourites, we must obviously mention Nelly Kordasolid world No. 1, six victories in eleven tournaments since the start of the season. However, the American has been going through a turbulent period for a few weeks since she has just missed three consecutive cuts, including two in Majors (US Women’s Open and KPMG Women’s PGA Championship). Bitten by a dog on the weekend of the PGA Championship in Seattle, she even had to withdraw from theAramco Team Series London (LET) won at the beginning of the month by the Irishwoman Leona Maguire.

Also pay attention to Lilia Vuthe former world No. 1, back at her best after a back injury. The South Koreans will also be ones to watch closely, of course, like Jin Young Koworld number 3 and winner of The Amundi Evian Championship in 2019, or her compatriot Amy Yangworld No. 5, winner of the 3rd Major of the season on June 23. In short, let the party begin!

Photo : Philippe Millereau / KMSP

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