Caddie helps Chun In-gee set a major record at the Evian

AP, EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France

Tue, Sep 20, 2016 - Page 16

Walking toward the 18th green at the Evian Championship with one putt to make golfing history, Chun In-gee felt the nerves gripping her.

After some motivating words from her caddie, she steadied herself and sank a putt from 10 feet to hold a difficult par. That putt saw her win on 21-under to record the lowest 72-round ever in a men’s or women’s major.

It was the 22-year-old South Korean’s second major after winning last year’s Women’s US Open.

Given her lead over countrywomen Park Sung-hyun and Ryu So-yeon, victory was effectively assured as Chun approached the 18th tee, but it looked like she might miss the record lowest score when her tee shot flew into the left rough.

After chatting to her caddie, she chose the safe option and used a wedge to chop her way onto the fairway, about 95 yards from the pin.

Then, Chun glided her ball over the water magnificently to give herself a shot at history — but the short walk to the green felt like an eternity.

“I was so nervous,” Chun said. “So my caddie David Jones told me: ‘If you make the par, I buy the dinner.’”

Jones might regret it when he sees the bill.

“I can pick any expensive one,” said a smiling Chun, who broke the record of 20-under jointly held by Henrik Stenson and Jason Day, and also bettered the women’s record by two.

She led from start to finish, although she did share the first-round lead with Park — who finished four shots back in a tie for second with Ryu.

China’s Feng Shanshan was six shots back in fourth place, with South Korean Kim Sei-young posting an impressive 65 to move up to fifth ahead of countrywoman Kim In-kyung.

Kaohsiung-born Candie Kung was tied for 14th place on four-under after a 71, while Taiwan’s Yani Tseng carded a 74 to finish on even-par tied for 36th.

Chun finished the day with a two-under 69, the most modest of her four rounds. Not that it took anything away from her achievement.

“I just cannot believe I won the Evian Championship and made 21-under-par,” Chun said as she clutched the trophy. “I’m not dreaming right?”

“I think she’s an amazing ambassador for the women’s game,” said Lydia Ko, the defending champion. “You can kind of see that from her personality.”

It was a tournament to forget for Ko.

Chasing her third major, the 19-year-old New Zealander finished in a tie for 43rd at two-over.

However, she did enough to win the third edition of the Rolex Annika Major Award — rewarding the player with the best combined record at all five majors and named after 10-time major winner Annika Sorenstam.

Additional reporting by staff writer