2019 LPGA Evian Championship Betting Preview: The World’s No. 1 Golfer Is Undervalued

Credit:

Jasen Vinlove, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sei Young Kim

Jul 25, 2019, 10:01 PM EDT
  • The 2019 LPGA Evian Championship takes place on Thursday (1:30 a.m. ET).
  • Jeremy Pond previews the tournament and suggests a few outright and matchup bets.

What I thought was just a case of the second-place finishes has officially turned into an epidemic for this golf handicapper.

For the fourth time in five weeks on the LPGA Tour scene, I have chosen the runner-up in this column. What makes this string of bad luck even more laughable is the fact my pick for the outright winner at the British Open was Tommy Fleetwood. And you guessed it. Fleetwood finished a distant second to champion Shane Lowry.

Obviously, being so close so many times isn’t a bad thing when you have dozens of players competing each week at these tournaments. However, this “so close, yet so far away” stuff must cease. And I am hoping the winning trend starts this week at The Evian Championship.

The ladies had a team event last week, with pairs competing at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Michigan. American Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura took home the title, finishing six shots better than the team of Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee.

This week, the women compete in another major championship at the Evian Resort Golf Club in breathtaking Evian-les-Bains, France. All the top guns are in town for the tournament, which became a major during the 2013 season.

Sung Hyun Park, the current Rolex world golf rankings No. 1 player, leads the stacked field. The South Korean is one of four players sharing co-favoritism, sitting at 14/1 odds. Jin Young Ko, Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson join Park as the tournament favorites.

This kind of odds definitely proved the players an opportunity to score an outright at decent odds, with several others at longer numbers who are legitimate contenders.

Without further ado, here are this week’s top plays:

Outrights

Sung Hyun Park (14-1)

Always love Park and love her even more at these kind of odds. The two-time major champion is coming off a T6 effort at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, which came on the heels of a win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

The seven-time winner on the LPGA Tour finished tied for second at the 2016 Evian Championship and has rightfully earned the respect of oddsmakers with her solid play and consistency on the biggest stages.

Love this number. Love this golfer. Love this play.

Sei Young Kim (16-1)

The South Korean star is arguably the hottest player on the tour at the moment, fresh off a win at the Marathon Classic. Kim carded rounds of 67, 64, 66 and 65 on the way to her ninth career tour crown.

If you asked me to name the best player on the women’s tour yet to win a major title, it would be Kim. She has knocked on the door numerous times across the five major championships, with one of her best showings coming right here in France when she finished T2 at last year’s event.

This could be the week Kim puts things together and snags that elusive major crown.

Inbee Park (18-1)

The living legend has done it all as a professional golfer, already earning her place in the Hall of Fame. Park has won seven major championships during her illustrious career thus far, but the one that has eluded her so far is the Evian.

The Las Vegas resident and winner of 19 tour titles did capture the 2012 edition of this event, but it came a year before the Evian was turned into a major championship. You would have to think of all the tournaments that come around each season this is the one Park wants the most.

Completing the career Grand Slam plus-1 would be historic and set the bar for those coming up the ranks. I feel like oddsmakers were fair with her number, but I personally value her more than these odds and will take 18/1 with a smile.

Shanshan Feng (22-1)

The Chinese standout is coming off an impressive win at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, where she outlasted former world No. 1 player and Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn for her 10th career tour victory.

What really sticks out to me and gives me a ton of confidence about this play is Feng’s absurd run of consistency at this tournament. Feng has finished T11 or better in six of the last eight Evian tournaments.

Feng has never won a major championship, but it would not surprise me whatsoever if this is the week she gets that maiden score.

So Yeon Ryu (25-1)

The South Korean star and two-time major champion is chasing her seventh tour win and first last season’s Meijer LPGA Classic. Another model of consistency in France, Ryu scored her best Evian finish back in 2016 when she earned a share of second place. The world’s 10th-ranked player, who wound up T10 a year ago at The Evian, has racked up an outstanding 86 career Top 10s on tour and close to $11 million in earnings.

Ryu has stepped up her game this season at the majors, finishing T2 at the U.S. Women’s Open and T10 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in her most recent efforts, and I expect same kind of performance at this event.

Longshots

Danielle Kang (35-1)

The American was in a rightful full panic mode when she arrived in France and found out her golf bag did not make it on the same plane. Thankfully, Kang was able to breathe easy when her gear and clubs arrived so she could focus on pursuing her second career major championship. Kang is major player at this tournament and will be in the hunt come Sunday in France.

In Gee Chun (60-1)

The 2016 champion is getting absolutely no respect from oddsmakers going into this event. Chun is chasing her third career major championship in France and I won’t be surprised if we see her near the top of the leaderboard right out of the gate. I was drooling when I first saw these long odds on Chun, who shot 21 under par en route to her impressive Evian title.

Matchups

Lydia Ko (-115) over Carlota Ciganda

My H2H matchup play of the tournament. Ko, the 2015 Evian champion, has been the model of consistency in France. The Kiwi finished T10 in 2018 and T3 in 2017, giving me plenty of confidence she will shine again.

Inbee Park (+100) over Brooke Henderson

Giving the slight edge to the Hall-of-Famer Park, who won the 2012 edition of this event. The South Korean wound up T8 at last year’s Evian Championship.

In Gee Chun (-125) over Azahara Munoz

Absolutely love the South Korean, who won her second career major championship three years ago at this event. Chun finished T16 last year in France, which was well ahead of Ciganda and her T33 effort.

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