FOUR SHARE LEAD AT SEASON’S FINAL MAJOR
Four players have separated themselves from the field at the top of the leaderboard through 36 holes at The Evian Championship. Americans Mo Martin and Amy Olson are at 8-under par alongside the Republic of Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee and Puerto Rico’s Maria Torres – only Lee and Martin have won on the LPGA Tour, and Martin is the only one to previously win a major championship (2014 Ricoh Women’s British Open).
“You don't have a lot to work with,” Martin said of the challenging Evian Resort Golf Club. “You've got to hit your fairways; you've got to hit quality shots in; you've got to make your putts here. Definitely defines a major championship. I was talking to (Jerry Foltz) earlier and he said that there are all style of play up on the leaderboard. I think that's just a testament to the golf course and how it's set up.”
First round co-leader Carlota Ciganda of Spain finished one-shot off the lead at 7-under par through Friday. Behind Ciganda is a group of seven players at 6-under par.
Third round starting times begin on Saturday at 10:10 a.m. local time, with groups of three going off of split tees. The final group tees off the first hole at 12:11 p.m.
EVIAN A SPECIAL PLACE FOR MI HYANG LEE
In 2013 when The Evian Championship became a major on the LPGA, the field size was increased to 120 players. That increase allowed Mi Hyang Lee to sneak into the field where she would finish T19. Before Evian, Lee was outside the top 100 on the Official Money List but the result in France propelled her towards finishing the year 92nd overall, meaning the second-year player wouldn’t have to go back to LPGA Qualifying School.
The next year, Lee would become a Rolex First-Time Winner in Japan at the 2014 Mizuno Classic and hasn’t had to worry about losing her card since, while also adding another win at the 2017 Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. In her mind, she owes it all to the 2013 Evian Championship.
“I think I got in here last -- I think the last or the second last,” Lee recalled. “And then I made the cut and then I made it so I can keep my card so I don't have to back to Q-School. So it means a lot to me here.”
When Mo Martin won the 2014 RICOH Women's British Open, she became one of 35 LPGA players in history who have won their first LPGA title at a major championship. This week at The Evian Championship, Martin finds herself tied for the lead with Amy Olson and Maria Torres, and Carlota Ciganda, who is just one back, who are fighting to join her on that elite list.
Ciganda would become the first player from Spain to win an LPGA major, but refused to let herself think about that after a one-under par 70 on Friday. “It would be a dream come true. I mean, I don't want think that far,” Ciganda said. Ciganda has top-13 finishes in every LPGA major championship, except for The Evian Championship.
2018 LPGA rookie Torres became the first woman from Puerto Rico to get a full LPGA Tour card by finishing 20th at the final stage of LPGA Qualifying School in 2017. As she sleeps on a lead for the second-straight night, Torres also didn’t want to get ahead of herself, but was thrilled to have a chance to make history. “I don't know, it's exciting to be in this position,” Torres said. “I'm grateful for it. I don't know, just really grateful for it, to be honest.”
At the season’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, Olson recorded her first career top-10 finish in a major championship, and despite never holding a 36-hole lead before she said she is feeling confident.
“I love majors,” Olson said. “I love it when par is a great score on some holes, and if you can sneak a birdie or two out, that's great.”
During the 2018 LPGA season, both Pernilla Lindberg (ANA Inspiration) and Georgia Hall (Ricoh Women’s British Open) have become Rolex First-Time Winners at major championships.
ROLEX RANKINGS NO. 1 SCENARIOS
With Rolex Rankings No. 1 Sung Hyun Park making an early exit at the season’s final major, The Evian Championship, it leaves the door open for a change at the top of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn, No. 3 So Yeon Ryu and No. 4 Inbee Park each have a shot to return to the top based on their finishes on Sunday.
Through the second round of The Evian Championship, Ryu is T6, Inbee Park is T13 and Jutanugarn is T51.
Some projected scenarios are below:
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn
Jutanugarn would move to No. 1 with a win.
If Jutanugarn finishes second, she would need So Yeon Ryu and Inbee Park to not win.
Rolex Rankings No. 3 So Yeon Ryu
Ryu would move to No. 1 with a win.
If Ryu finishes second, she would need Ariya Jutanugarn to finish fifth or worse and Inbee Park to finish third or worse.
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Inbee Park
Park would move to No. 1 with a win.
If Park finishes second, she would need Ariya Jutanugarn to finish third or worse and So Yeon Ryu to not win.
Rolex Rankings No. 59 Mi Hyang Lee (T1, 134)
Lee, 25, is from Seoul, Rep. of Korea
In 2018, Lee has made eight cuts in 19 starts with two top-10 finishes including a season-best T7 finish at the Indy Women in Tech Championship
In majors in 2018, Lee has only made the cut at the Ricoh Women’s British Open where she finished T28
In five starts at The Evian Championship, Lee has made four cuts with three top-20 finishes including a T4 finish at the 2015 event
During her T4 finish in 2015, Lee posted a career-low 36-hole score of 133 and held a share of the 36-hole lead (her only time leading through two rounds)
Lee is a two-time LPGA winner: 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open and 2014 Mizuno Classic
Rolex Rankings No. 99 Mo Martin (T1, 134)
Martin, 35, is from Pasadena, Calif. and went to UCLA
Martin has held a share of the second-round lead once in her LPGA career, at the 2014 Ricoh Women’s British Open where she went on to win
Martin’s 36-hole 134 is her career-low mark
Martin’s second-round 66 is her career-low round in a major championship
In 2018, Martin has made 18 cuts in 22 starts with a season-best T12 finish at the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic
At majors in 2018, Martin missed the cut at the ANA Inspiration and the U.S. Women’s Open, finished T33 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and T39 at the Ricoh Women’s British Open
Martin became one of 35 LPGA players who have won their first LPGA title at a major championship when she won the 2014 RICOH Women's British Open
Martin has made two cuts in four previous appearances at The Evian Championship, with a career-best T26 showing in 2017
Rolex Rankings No. 89 Amy Olson (T1, 134)
Olson, 26, is from Oxbow, North Dakota and attended North Dakota State University where she broke the NCAA record for most career victories with 20 wins
Olson holds a share of the 36-hole lead for the first time in her career
Olson’s second-round 65 (-6) tied her career low round and tied her season-low 18-hole score to par which she had previously shot twice this year (both 66s on par 72 layouts)
Olson’s career-best finish is T7 at the 2014 LPGA Lotte Championship, one of four career top-10 finishes on the LPGA – she has two top-10s this season including T9 at the ANA Inspiration (best finish in a major)
Formerly Amy Anderson, married Grant Olson on June 6, 2017 – her husband is currently the Linebackers Coach for the Indiana State University football team
Olson graduated from North Dakota State University in 2013 with a degree in Accounting
Rolex Rankings No. 184 Maria Torres (T1, 134)
Torres, 23, from Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico was a two-time All-American at the University of Florida and 2016 SEC Individual Champion
Torres’ 36-hole score of 134 ties her career-low mark, which she set at the 2018 CP Women’s Open where she finished T8
Torres’ first-round 65 was her career-low round – following Round 1 was the first time in Torres’ LPGA career she has held a share of the lead following any round
In her rookie season, Torres has made nine cuts in 20 starts with two top-10 finishes coming in her last six starts, including a season-best T7 finish at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic
Torres missed the cut in her first career major championship appearance at the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Torres became the first woman from Puerto Rico to get a full LPGA Tour card by finishing 20th at the final stage of LPGA Qualifying School in 2017
Rolex Rankings No. 21 Carlota Ciganda (5, 135)
Ciganda, 28, is from Pamplona, Spain
Ciganda’s 36-hole score of 135 is her career-best in a major championship
Ciganda is competing in her seventh Evian Championship; her career-best finish at the event is T17 in 2016
In 2018, Ciganda has made 16 cuts in 19 starts with five top-10 finishes including a runner-up finish at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic
Ciganda has two top-10 finishes in majors this year, a third-place finish at the U.S. Women’s Open and T7 at the Ricoh Women’s British Open
Juli Inkster (2003), Paula Creamer (2005) and Natalie Gulbis (2007) are the only American winners of this event; all three winning prior to The Evian Championship becoming a major championship.
An American has won at least one major championship in every season since 2013; with Danielle Kang’s 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship being most recent.
Defending champion Anna Nordqvist is T30 after the second round of her title defense.
No player from Spain has won an LPGA major championship.