Date: September 13, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Lee heads five Aussies in Evian


Five Australians are teeing it up at the beautiful Evian Resort in France this week for the LPGA Tour's fifth and final major of 2017, the Evian Championship.

Perth's Minjee Lee, ranked 12th on the season-long points race, is in the best form of the Aussies having finished third at Indianapolis last week, with eight top-10 finishes in 2017.

But Katherine Kirk (ranked 38th), Sarah Jane Smith (44), Su Oh (55) and Karrie Webb (71) have plenty to play for as the season reaches its climax.

There are seven tournaments remaining on the schedule — the Women's New Zealand Open, a five-tournament swing through Asia and the CME Globe Tour Championship in Florida, which is for the top 72 players on the points list.

Lexi Thompson, So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park are the top three in the points race while In Gee Chun of South Korea is the defending champion.

Webb is under the most pressure of the Australians, needing to stay in the top 72 to reach the Tour Championship in November. She previously won this tournament in 2006, before it was designated as a major.

Thompson, who won at Indianapolis, has fought strongly from the dreadful moment in California at the ANA Inspiration, the season's first major, when she was assessed for a four-shot penalty for incorrectly marking her ball and then signing for an incorrect scorecard. The American also had to deal with the illness of her mother, Judy, who needed treatment for uterine cancer during the year.

"It's definitely been a crazy up-and-down year, definitely a lot of emotions behind it,'' she said today. "I think I've just learned overall just how strong I am, going through the whole year and things that have happened. But I think that's what helped, knowing my mom is back to being healthy.

"I think that's helped me out a lot, and just being with her when I do go home. I basically see her every day and get to spend time with her. So it's always nice. But yeah, it's been a great year, but there's a few things that have happened, but I've just become stronger because of it.''