A Major Preview: The Amundi Evian Championship
By Keith Stewart, PGA
The 18th hole at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France.
From Scotland and the 150th Open Championship, we travel to a mountain paradise alongside one of Europe’s most beautiful lake landscapes for golf’s next Major Championship — the Amundi Évian Championship. What began as a Ladies European Tour event almost 30 years ago, is now one of the premier events on the schedule.
The Évian Resort Golf Club in Évian-les-Bains, France is situated alongside Lake Léman and the base of the Swiss Alps. A truly picturesque setting, don’t be fooled by this gorgeous green landscape. As the best in the game prepare to take on a Major venue, let’s take you through the test they will face this week.
The Champions Course is a unique Par 71 layout with nine Par 4’s, four Par 5’s and five Par 3’s. The course measures just over 6,500 yards, but the town of Évian sits at 1,200 feet above sea level. Combine that with warm temperatures in Europe this week and the ball could be flying longer than it ever has at the Évian. Outside of the additional Par 3, the most interesting aspect of competing on the Champions Course is the terrain.
Each of the 18 holes are built on the side of a hill. They each present an individual challenge for the player. Some will play uphill, others downhill. Sidehill lies are everywhere and will constantly challenge the world’s best this week. This puts ball striking at a premium as solid contact consistently on uneven lies is a tremendous challenge.
Looking back at the 2021 Championship, it was an exciting playoff finish. Minjee Lee, the No. 2 ranked player in the world, came from 7 shots back to catch Jeongeun Lee6 with a sensational final round 64. When we think back to many of the finishes at the Évian Championship, they all seem to have a similar standout conclusion. Much of that has to do with the finish -- the Par 3, 16th hole over water, a short Par-4, 17th hole and a reachable Par-5, 18th.
Who could forget Minjee Lee’s towering iron into the green on the first playoff hole to secure her first Major Championship in 2021. Lydia Ko fired a final-round 63 to win in 2015 and Anna Norqvist won via a playoff in 2017. In every case, the course truly creates theater worthy of a Major.
When we break down the key holes, there’s three elements to keep in mind.
• The players will have five Par 3's to contend with. They represent 28% of the holes the competitors will play. They go uphill and downhill and vary greatly in length from 155 to 226 yards. Lydia Ko, Minjee Lee and Jeongeun Lee6 excel in Par 3 scoring via KPMG Performance Insights. Keep an eye on those three throughout the week.
• Par 5's have always been the key to going low in any event. At Evian, players only hit the fairway on Par 5's, 58% of the time. The average for hitting all 13 fairways is 66%. Therefore, our contenders must be accurate and long to take care of the Par 5's. Great drivers of the golf ball like Nelly Korda and Atthaya Thitikul certainly have an advantage.
• When it comes to the Par 4's, hitting greens is a real challenge. Over 18 holes, players hit 70% of their greens. But on the Par 4's, that number drops to 63%. What's even more interesting is the Par 4's average 390 yards in length and considering the elevation and heat, those holes will play even shorter. Most fans know the Par 3’s and 5’s create drama, but to win the 4’s will most definitely be a deciding factor.