Evian Championship, day 1: What you need to know from the year’s final major

September 13, 2018

The final major championship of 2018 takes place this week in France, at the Evian Championship. It’s the final major before next spring, so buckle in for some major championship golf. 

Who’s leading? Carlotta Ciganda and Maria Torres share the lead at six under. Ciganda, a 28-year-old from Spain, kept a clean card with six birdies against zero bogeys for a 65. Torres, a recent Florida grad from Puerto Rico, carded six birdies and an eagle against two bogeys to match her.

Who’s chasing? Austin Ernst is the top (mainland!) American in the field and sits alone in third place after an opening five-under 66. Brooke Henderson, Nasa Hataoka and So Yeon Ryu, each in contention for the lucrative season-long Race to CME Globe, sit in fourth after 67s.

Where are the game’s best players? Race to CME leader Ariya Jutananugarn sits at even par after a 71 (T35). No. 2 Minjee Lee shot 72 (T41). Henderson is No. 3 in the standings and shot 67. And No. 4 (and world No. 1) Sung Hyun Park struggled to a 77. Former World No. 1 Lydia Ko sits at one over.

How about the top Americans? Besides Ernst, none of the Americans in the CME top 30 had banner days, but several played well enough to stay in contention. Jessica Korda shot two-under 69, as did Marina Alex. Lexi Thompson posted even-par 71, while Lindy Duncan (72) and Brittany Lincicome (73) were just behind. Lizette Salas (75), Danielle Kang (77) and Cristie Kerr (78) had disappointing first rounds. Michelle Wie withdrew last week and continues rehabbing a wrist injury.

Quote of the day?

“I’m going to be very nasty with my country,” Evian founder Franck Riboud said in a press conference. “My country is not a golf country. Even if we have the Ryder Cup it’s not a golf country. We don’t have the culture.” French golfer Celine Boutier will hope to change that perception with a strong week; she’s at one under after an opening 70.

How’s the weather?

The conditions at the Evian have been notoriously turbulent and have led to criticism of tournament organizers; last year’s event was shortened to 54 holes due to rain and hail. Next year, the Evian will come at the end of July in an effort to catch a better part of the summer. But it’s so far, so good this year. Temperatures in the 70s and 80s mean good things heading to the weekend.

How can I watch?

TV coverage of the Evian is available over the weekend:

Friday September 14

Golf Channel: 5-8 a.m. ET, 9:30-12:30 a.m.

Saturday, September 15

Golf Channel: 6-11:30 a.m. ET

Sunday, September 16

Golf Channel: 4:30-10 a.m. ET

NBC: 2:30-4 p.m. (Tape-delayed)

Carlota Ciganda leads at the Evian Championship.