AYAKA FURUE LEADS AFTER FIRST ROUND OF AMUNDI EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

With an 8-under 63, tied for the second-lowest round in Amundi Evian Championship history, Japan’s Ayaka Furue holds the lead after the first round at Evian Resort Golf Club. Furue, a 22-year-old LPGA Tour rookie who has seven victories on the JLPGA Tour, carded nine birdies and one bogey on Thursday to surge into the lead at a major championship for the first time.

Her round ties three other 63s as the second-lowest round in Evian, behind 61s carded by Hyo Joo Kim (2014), Jeongeun Lee6 (2021) and Leona Maguire (2021). It is also tied for the third-lowest round in the history of women’s major championships.

“I like the course, and with the good vibes from last year I thought I would play good,” said Furue, who finished fourth in her Evian debut in 2021. “I played very well today.”

LEADERBOARD
 PlayerTo ParScore
1Ayaka Furue-863
T2Brooke Henderson-764
T2Nelly Korda-764
4Cheyenne Knight-665

Major champions Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson are tied for second at 7 under with matching 64s. Korda was bogey-free on Thursday, choosing to wade into the water at No. 18 to secure a clutch up-and-down with her ball at the edge of the hazard. “I was in between clubs there. It was either a 7 or a 6, and I didn’t really want to go long, but didn’t really think about if I didn’t hit that 7 good it would go in the water,” said Korda, who said her feet felt very slimy after the shot. “I had a decent chance of getting it out on the green, so I just went for it, and saved par. Better than taking a drop, that’s for sure.”

After saying she had struggled for years on the Evian greens, with a best performance of a tie for 19th in 2021, Korda was thrilled with her first-round performance. “I’m striking it really well. I had a lot of good numbers and I was hitting it close,” she said. “Honestly what made the difference from today to the years past is I was just rolling them in. That was really nice to see.”

After starting on No. 10, Henderson closed her round with a long eagle putt at No. 9. She also had six birdies on the day to go with a single bogey at No. 8. “I feel like ball striking I gave myself a lot of really great opportunities, which is always good, and then I was able to make some putts,” said Henderson. “Any time that happens, you usually can go pretty low. This golf course, it can be so tricky. It plays really difficult. But sometimes when you make a bunch of birdies you can get momentum, and that’s kind of what happened today.”

KATO, JAPAN – JULY 05: Ayaka Furue of Japan hits a tee shot on the 2nd hole during the final round of the Sky Ladies ABC Cup at ABC Golf Club on July 05, 2019 in Kato, Hyogo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

American Cheyenne Knight shot the low round of her career on Thursday, carding a 6-under 65 to hold solo fourth through 18 holes. She is followed closely by a pack of five players tied for fifth at -5, including past Evian champions Jin Young Ko and Lydia Ko.

2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner In Gee Chun, who took the Evian title in 2016, is tied for 10th at -4. 2021 Amundi Evian champion Minjee Lee opened her title defense with a 1-under 70 and is tied for 39th.

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