After a breakthrough season with wins in the Netherlands and Germany, Scot Kylie Walker’s reward is a debut appearance in today’s Evian Championship in France, the fifth and final major of the women’s season.
But the 28-year-old nearly didn’t make it. She pulled out of the final round of last weekend’s event in Sweden with a neck injury and was still in some pain on the eve of the £2million event.
“My shoulder just froze,” explained Walker. “When I woke up on Saturday morning I had a stiff neck but it’s a little bit better. I managed to hit some balls yesterday, although not quite properly. But the weather is getting warmer which helps and, hopefully, it should be all right by Thursday.
“I played five holes on Tuesday and walked the rest. It’s one of these things. I’ve got to roll with it and see what’s happening. I was a lot happier on the range and I felt that I could at least swing it because on Sunday I was just really, really struggling and probably shouldn’t have played Saturday because I probably made it worse.
“But my thinking was to try and get through the third round and then, hopefully, wake up the following day feeling better. But it was worse on Sunday and there was no way I could have played.
“It means my expectations this week have changed a little after what happened at the weekend. Really my focus is just to be fit to play. I’m just trying to gauge it, take it easy but just try and hit a few balls.” Catriona Matthew is the only other Scot in the field, but she has a poor history at Evian and tied 64th last year when the Championship became a major for the first time.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen defends the title that she won by two shots from New Zealand’s 16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko last year. Ko, now a professional, has won twice on the LPGA Tour this season and is ranked No 3 in the world. But she has been struggling with a cyst on her wrist and could need surgery.