South Korea’s In Gee Chun claimed her second major title in record style with a final round 69 at the Evian Championship marred by heavy rain in France yesterday.
The 22-year-old led from start to finish and her 21-under-par 263 total was two lower than the women’s major record and one better than the men’s record set by Jason Day at last year’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits and then equalled by Henrik Stenson at this summer’s Open Championship at Royal Troon.
Chun won the £374,000 top prize by four shots from another two South Koreans, So Yeon Ryu (66) and Sung Hyun Park (69). China’s Shanshan Feng was fourth on 15 under after a 69.
Catriona Matthew, the only Scot in the field, had her best round of the week, closing with a 69 for level par and a tie for 36th.
Annika Sorenstam was at the Evian Championship to hand over the Rolex Annika Major Award (for the best result over the season’s five majors) to New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, and she also had some interesting comments on next year’s Solheim Cup.
Sorenstam, the ten-time major winner, will captain the side and has already appointed Matthew as a vice-captain. But she hopes the Scot will also be taking on a playing role.
“I’m expecting Catriona to play,” said the Swede. “In choosing a vice-captain, Catriona fitted the bill in every capacity. She’s got a great record and is cool and calm. She also has aspirations to be a captain.”
Matthew, 47, confirmed she will be playing a fairly full schedule on the LPGA Tour next year and chasing a ninth Solheim Cup appearance. “I’d definitely like to play” she said. “I think you can be a playing vice-captain, but couldn’t possibly do it as a captain.”
As for the matches at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa next year, Sorenstam has put sportsmanship and fair play at the top of the agenda
At St Leon-Rot in Germany last year, the event was overshadowed by controversy. It all boiled over in the Sunday morning fourball when Suzann Pettersen failed to back down on an incident involving Alison Lee.
The American thought a short putt at the 17th had been conceded and picked up her ball. But Pettersen said otherwise and so claimed the hole.
Paired with Charley Hull against Lee and Brittany Lincicome, Pettersen went on to win the match at the 18th and give Europe a commanding 10-6 lead going into the final 12 singles.
But, spurred on by feelings of injustice, the Americans roared back in the head-to-head singles session, and won the contest 14.5 - 13.5. It was the first USA win since 2009 and the closest margin in Solheim history.
“It was a shame,” reflected Sorenstam, who was a vice-captain to fellow-Swede Carin Koch a year ago. “Everyone talked more about the incident that the fantastic golf.”
Sorenstam also indicated that she would have insisted that Pettersen back down and that the final hole should have been conceded to make the match all square.
“But I wasn’t captain,” she said. “It was hard at the time but it should have been dealt with much quicker.
“The Solheim is the biggest match in women’s golf and we all have to be role models.”
At Evian yesterday, Pettersen insisted she had put the incident behind her and isn’t worried abut US fans’ reaction in 12 months’ time. “I don’t care, I’m so over it,” said the Norwegian. “It was already too late by the time Annika told me to concede the 18th. Next year I just want to keep holing putts. That’ll soon quieten the crowd.”