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Evian Championship 2022: Ayaka Furue Leads Nelly Korda by 1 Stroke After Round 1

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 21, 2022

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Ayaka Furue turned some heads at the 2021 Evian Championship with a fantastic performance, and she's doing it again in this year's iteration of the major. The 22-year-old posted an eight-under 63 on Thursday in Evian-Les-Bains, France, to lead the field after Round 1.

LPGA @LPGA

New clubhouse leader! πŸ™Œ<br><br>Ayaka Furue birdies her last to get to 8-under! <a href="https://t.co/AHFr03RlN2">pic.twitter.com/AHFr03RlN2</a>

Furue hit 15 of 18 greens of regulation and averaged just 1.39 putts per hole. She made nine birdies and just one bogey on the day, including a five-under 30 on the front nine. Impressively, Furue birdied three of the five par-three holes.

A seven-time winner in her native LPGA Tour of Japan, Furue finished fourth at 15 under in the Evian Championship last year. She finished three shots shy of eventual champion Minjee Lee.

Furue will have to work some more magic for the remainder of this tournament, especially given the strength and proximity of the title contenders.

Eighteen players are four under or better, and nine of them are within three strokes of the leader.

They include seven-time LPGA Tour winner world No. 3 Nelly Korda and 11-time winner Brooke Henderson, who are tied for second at seven under.

Korda posted a bogey-free round despite having to shoot her ball out of a lake at one point:

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

Believe it or not, <a href="https://twitter.com/NellyKorda?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NellyKorda</a> ended up scoring a par on this hole!<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/LPGA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LPGA</a>)<br> <a href="https://t.co/bxIYUbfoW3">pic.twitter.com/bxIYUbfoW3</a>

Meanwhile, Henderson ended a great day in style with an eagle on the par-five ninth.

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

What a way to end your round!<a href="https://twitter.com/BrookeHenderson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BrookeHenderson</a> sinks an eagle to wrap up her first round of action.<br><br>πŸ“Ί Golf Channel <a href="https://t.co/4D4Gm8XFrx">pic.twitter.com/4D4Gm8XFrx</a>

Cheyenne Knight, who is well on her way to making her fourth straight major cut, sits solo fourth at six under.

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

An impressive run from <a href="https://twitter.com/CKnightGolf33?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CKnightGolf33</a>.<br><br>She finds herself in second place after a first round 65.<br><br>πŸ“Ί <a href="https://twitter.com/peacockTV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@peacockTV</a> <a href="https://t.co/vcNciMc8D7">pic.twitter.com/vcNciMc8D7</a>

A scary group resides at five under, though, and it's led by world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and two-time major winner and world No. 4 Lydia Ko.

The game's top player delivered one of the shots of the day on the par-four sixth.

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

OH!<br><br>Jin Young Ko almost hit this one home. An incredible shot from the left side rough.<br><br>πŸ“Ί Golf Channel <a href="https://t.co/Mr8slwWJqN">pic.twitter.com/Mr8slwWJqN</a>

Low scores were the norm Thursday, with 63 players shooting a one-under 70 or better. We'll see if that trend continues Friday during second-round action.

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