Brooke Henderson continued her inspired play on Saturday, carding a 3-under 68 and maintaining her spot atop the leaderboard at the 2022 Amundi Evian Championship. Henderson, who is aiming for the second major title of her professional career, is at -17, two strokes clear of two-time major champion So Yeon Ryu and four strokes ahead of LPGA Tour rookie Sophia Schubert.
Henderson’s round of 68 included four birdies and a lone bogey on the opening hole. Despite the strong play, the Canadian superstar couldn’t help but reflect on some missed opportunities, including a short birdie lip-out at No. 18 that left her with a bitter taste in her mouth.
“It wasn’t as good as the first two days, but, yeah, really hung in there. Made some clutch par saves on back nine, which felt nice,” said Henderson, who shot 64-64 in the first two rounds. “Not as many birdies on the card. Felt like the course is playing a little bit tougher for me today. Hopefully go out tomorrow and continue to ball strike pretty well and hopefully make some putts.”
Ryu has improved each day so far at Evian Resort Golf Club, shooting 67-66 on Thursday and Friday before today’s 6-under 65. It ties Ryu’s best career round at Evian, joining the second round in 2012. The two-time major champion from South Korea admitted that she has been struggling with her game and mental stamina for the last year, making these three days of success even sweeter.
“I haven’t played really well and then I haven’t been in contention for, I don’t know, maybe over a year, so I’m really excited to be in this position,” said Ryu, whose last win came at the 2018 Meijer LPGA Classic. “At the same time, I’m a little bit nervous. But all I can do is focus on what I can do. I’m just going to do some like putting work today and then hopefully I can play well tomorrow as well.”
For Schubert, this could be a true breakthrough moment in her five-year professional career. After reaching the LPGA Tour by finishing fourth on the Epson Tour’s 2021 Race for the Card, the 27-year-old American has struggled through her rookie season, missing five cuts and only finishing inside the top-15 one time. But she has shown the strength of her game this week in Evian, closing her third round with four consecutive birdies to take a spot in Sunday’s penultimate group.
“I’ve worked so hard, worked hard to be at this point,” said Schubert, who played in Evian in 2017 after winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur. “I’m just trying not to think about it in a way. I mean, I get to play with some of the best golfers in the world and I think to myself that I deserve to be here. I’m just trying to keep my confidence up and just keep going.”
Spain’s Carlota Ciganda will join Schubert in the next-to-last pairing on Sunday, sitting in a tie for fourth with Sei Young Kim at -12. Five players are tied for sixth at -11, including Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko and No. 3 Nelly Korda. Korda entered the day in solo second but dropped off the pace with a round of even-par 71 on Saturday.
Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela, who grew up playing Evian Resort Golf Club after her parents met here in 1991, delighted the French and Swiss fans with a 7-under 64, Saturday’s low round of the day. She heads into the final round at -10 overall and tied for 11th with 2015 Evian champion Lydia Ko.
SO YEON RYU READY FOR WEEKEND IN CONTENTION AT AMUNDI EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Former Rolex Rankings No. 1 So Yeon Ryu is another player that took three weeks off from competitive golf after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and boy, did it do her some good. The 32-year-old Korean currently sits at 9 under and five back of the lead at the Amundi Evian Championship after shooting 67-66 at an always tricky Evian Resort Golf Club. Friday saw Ryu card six birdies on the back nine, which was playing as her front nine, propelling her up the leaderboard and into contention at a major championship, a place Ryu hasn’t found herself in quite some time.
“My front nine, which was the back nine, I played really well. I made six birdies, so that really helped to keep low scores,” said Ryu who birdied holes 11 and 12 and then made four in a row from Nos. 15 through 18. “My iron shot was really great today again so I’m very satisfied with my iron shot today. Then I think tee shot was a little better than yesterday as well, so everything was improved. I hoped I was able to make more birdies at the back nine, but just the situation was not really easy to make a birdie but I’m happy with the 66.”
This is Ryu’s 11th time teeing it up in Evian-les-Bains and her ninth time playing the event since it became a major championship in 2013. Her best finish is a tie for second in 2016 and her second-round 66 ties her lowest score in the tournament since Evian became a major. As she looks ahead to the weekend, Ryu is grateful to be in the position she’s in and hopes to make the most of things on Saturday and Sunday, even more so considering she’s in need of a confidence boost.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m really happy to be in contention,” said the two-time major champion. “Been a long time. I really hope I can make this chance really nicely at the end. But I think right now, the most important thing is just playing with a lot of confidence. I think I’ve lost quite a lot of confidence, so I really need to get back my confidence.”
* Information and images credit to www.lpga.com