It's the stuff fans and players live for: to have seven of the world’s best with a chance to win heading into the weekend of a major championship.
World No. 1 Jin Young Ko, No. 3 Nelly Korda, No. 4 Lydia Ko, No. 8 Hyo Joo Kim, No. 10 Brooke Henderson, No. 12 Sei Young Kim and former world No. 1 So Yeon Ryu are positioned atop the leaderboard following Round 2 of the Amundi Evian Championship. Each of them has a chance to win another major title with 36-holes to play. Combined they account for 10 major titles.
Separated by no more than seven strokes, Henderson leads the way at 14 under par. On the opposite end, each of the Kos are lurking at 7 under par, but that isn’t an insurmountable margin. Last year, Minjee Lee overcame a seven-stroke deficit in the final round to win at Evian Resort Golf Club.
Full-field scores from the Amundi Evian Championship
Here’s a closer look at how each of these seven major champions earned their current position atop the leaderboard in France and what they’ll need to do to have a chance come the weekend.
When Henderson made history as the youngest winner of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016, it seemed impossible that six years later she’d still be waiting for her second major victory, but the now-24-year-old has struggled with her putting in recent years. It’s been such an issue, she recently switched to a left-hand low putting style. She will take a three-stroke lead into the weekend in Evian les Bains after back-to-back rounds of 64. The key for Henderson is to keep the flat stick rolling if she wants to hold off her fellow major champions on moving day.
“It would be amazing to get my second major championship, and hopefully I get a few more before my career is over,” Henderson said after Friday’s round. “I feel like this is a great position after two days, and it's only half over, so see what happens.”
The most recent major winner of the charging pack is 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Champion Nelly Korda. After a four-month hiatus away from competition to have a blood clot surgically removed from her arm, Korda has seemingly picked up where she left off last season, when she won four times. She has three top 10s in her four starts since returning to competition, and with rounds of 64-67, she’s Henderson’s closest competitor after 36 holes, just three-strokes back of the Canadian.
“Really good. Honestly, super good,” Korda said about her start to the championship. “A little pat on my back after two days. Hopefully it keeps going that way.”
Sei Young Kim
Coming off a tie for fifth in her last start at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Sei Young Kim is once again in the hunt in a major. Kim opened with rounds of 68-65 to sit just five-strokes off the pace. Currently ranked No. 12 in the world, Kim knows what it takes to go low; she owns the record for the lowest 72-hole scoring total in LPGA Tour history. She’s sure to be a force this weekend, as she looks to mount a come-from-behind charge to add another major to her tally after her win at the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
So Yeon Ryu
With Kim at five-strokes back sits So Yeon Ryu, a former world No. 1 and two-time major champion. Ryu’s rounds of 67-66 have put her in the hunt for the first time this season. She’s struggled with her ball-striking in recent years, with her last win coming in 2018. Ryu has slipped to No. 51 in the world, but two more solid rounds would go a long way in seeing Ryu make a major comeback on the LPGA Tour.
“I'm not going to lie, I'm really happy to be in contention. Been long time,” Ryu said after her round on Friday. “I think right now, most important thing is just playing with a lot of confidence. I think I've lost quite a lot confidence, so I really need to get back my confidence.”
Hyo Joo Kim
Winner of the 2014 Amundi Evian Championship, Kim carded the lowest round in major championship history that year when she opened with a round of 61. The current world No. 8 will need two more low rounds to give herself a chance this weekend as she sits six-back of the lead after rounds of 68-66.
A two-time major champion and winner of the 2015 Amundi Evian Championship, Ko climbed to the top of the leaderboard on Friday only to stumble on the closing stretch. She recorded two bogeys and a double in her final five holes of the day. The current world No. 4 sits seven-back of the lead with opening rounds of 66-69.
“I just had one bad hole and just a couple loose shots,” Ko said about her difficult closing stretch on Friday. “Other than that, it was pretty solid. Hopefully keep the positives and move on to tomorrow.”
Jin Young Ko
The top-ranked player in the world has been a non-factor in the first three majors of the year, but Jin Young Ko played her way into the conversation with three birdies on her final four holes to card opening rounds of 66-69. Ko, a two-time major champion and winner in Evian les Bains in 2019, will have good memories to lean on as she looks to charge up the leaderboard on moving day.
“In 2019, I did a lots of birdie on the weekend, and that whole week I had a lot of birdies,” Ko said. “I will keep [remembering] 2019, how did I play in 2019. So I will get some good image from that, and I will keep that up.”