Sisters Ariya, Moriya target Evian success

Sisters Ariya, Moriya target Evian success

Patty forced to pull out after visa issues

Moriya (left) and Ariya Jutanugarn celebrate after winning the Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Michigan on Sunday. (AFP photo)
Moriya (left) and Ariya Jutanugarn celebrate after winning the Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Michigan on Sunday. (AFP photo)

Fresh from winning a team event, Thai sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn chase an individual prize at this week's Evian Championship in France.

Unfortunately, ANN Inspiration winner Patty Tavatanakit was forced to pull out of the tournament at the last minute due to visa issues.

The other five Thais in the year's fourth major event are Jasmine Suwannapura, Atthaya Thitikul, Pornanong Phatlum, Pajaree Anannarukarn and Wichanee Meechai.

Ariya and Moriya won the Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a two-player team tournament on the LPGA Tour, in Michigan on Sunday.

They beat Jasmine and American Cydney Clanton by three shots with Pajaree and India's Aditi Ashok finishing joint third.

Ariya, 25, is one of the most successful players on the LPGA Tour this year with two wins.

She won the LPGA Thailand in May to end a title drought and become the first local player to win the event.

In all, Ariya has won 12 LPGA tournaments including the 2016 Women's British Open and 2018 US Women's Open.

It will be her sixth appearance at the Evian with her best result being fifth in 2019.

Two-time LPGA winner Moriya, 26, has had good results in this major with four top-10 finishes in seven starts.

Ariya is a favourite to lift the Evian Championship trophy.

Patty, 21, was also a title contender and was grouped with world No.1 Nelly Korda and former Evian winner Lydia Ko in the first two rounds.

But she could not fly to France from the US because of visa problems, her handlers said.

Atthaya, 18, has claimed three titles on the Ladies European Tour (LET) -- two of them when she was still an amateur -- and is seen as a dark horse to win this week.

She won the Czech Ladies Open on the LET last month after finishing second at the LPGA Thailand behind Ariya.

Currently the leader on the LET's money list, Atthaya has played in six tour events this season with five top-five finishes.

"I am used to the weather and course conditions in Europe," she said.

"My physical condition is fine although I have played a lot recently."

Among the pre-tournament favourites this week are top-ranked Korda, defending champion and world No.2 Ko Jin-Young and No.3 Park In-Bee.

American Korda is the hottest player on the LPGA Tour so far this season, having won three tournaments including the Women's PGA Championship.

"Impossible to talk about the favourites without mentioning her [Korda]," the Evian Championship's website said.

"The current world No.1 has shown incomparable strength of character this season and undeniably arrives in Evian as a contender for the title.

"The Amundi Evian Championship is the only major at which she has not yet had a top-10 finish and this may be the opportunity for Nelly Korda to confirm her domination of women's world golf a little more."

South Korea's Park, one of the most successful female golfers of all time, needs an Evian title to complete her collection of wins in all five majors.

Having won at the other four majors, Park, 33, has already been victorious on the course at the Evian Resort Golf Club.

She was crowned champion at the 2012 Evian Masters, the year before the tournament took its major championship status.

In all, seven of the top-10 players in the world are in the field this week -- Korda, Ko Jin-Young, Park, Kim Sei-Young, Kim Hyo-Joo, Brooke Henderson and Lydia Ko.

Kim Hyo-Joo and Lydia Ko won the tournament in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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