The Evian Championship in France this week is the fifth and final major of the LPGA Tour calendar. Along with major glory, the top players in the women’s game have something more to play for, the inaugural Annika Major Award.
The award, named after ten time major winner Annika Sorenstam, is given to the player who performs best in all five women’s majors combined. All players inside the top ten in a major championship receive points based on their finish. However, to win the prize, golfers must also win one major that season.
In the running for the Annika Major Award
Michelle Wie currently leads the standings with 84 points following her victory at the US Women’s Open and her runner-up finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The 24-year-old will return to action this week for the first time since early August, having been sidelined for close to five weeks with a stress reaction in the index finger of her right hand. The four-time LPGA Tour winner is gunning for her second major championship, and her third win of the season.
Ten points behind Michelle Wie in the race is South Korean Inbee Park. The world No.2 won her first major of the year at the Wegmans LPGA Championship last month, successfully defending her title.
She did win the Evian Championship – formerly Evian Masters – in 2012, but hasn’t fared particularly well in France, overall. Her next best finish in her five other appearances was a tied 17th in 2011. A win this Sunday would be her 12th career triumph.
Having won two of the last 17 majors, world No.1 Stacy Lewis will be determined to win the Evian Championship and take home the $ 3,250,000 prize money, the biggest pot the LPGA Tour has to offer.
The American currently lies in fifth spot in the Annika Major Award rankings, and has to rely on other player’s performances to claim the prize. With 60 points going to this week’s winner, Lewis, only 32 points behind Michelle Wie, still has a shot at winning the award.
Third in the Annika Major Award race is Lexi Thomspon, winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship this year. Thompson is enjoying a good season, finishing inside the top ten on seven occasions so far this season.
She will be heading to the Evian Championship looking to win back-to-back majors. Ranked first for driving distance on the LPGA Tour, the 19-year-old may power her way to her second major championship victory.
Defending her Evian Championship crown is Suzann Pettersen of Norway. Ranked No. 4 in the world rankings, the 33-year-old has recorded five top ten finishes in her last six starts.
The 14-time LPGA winner hasn’t shown off her killer instincts in the biggest events this season. In her last two final rounds in the majors she has a scoring average of 75.5. If she is to take home the Annika Major Award she must change that, and win in France.