|Ariane (right) with her sister|
French Ladies European Tour rookie Ariane Provot was a young spectator when Paula Creamer won the Evian Masters. Nine years on, she is making her first appearance at The Evian Championship as a competitor, having won the inaugural qualifier at the Evian Resort Golf Club in June.
It’s a familiar venue, as ‘The Blonde Bomber’ explains: “I went to watch the Evian Masters when I was 13 years old and a few weeks before I had won my first French Championship, so I thought, ‘One day I will be there,’ and now I am.
“I started playing when I was eight and 2005 was my second year of big work in golf and I knew that the Evian was a big tournament but I didn’t know the girls who were very good. I just watched it from the 18th with my friends, to see the balls coming into the green.”
With rounds of 68 and 69 in the qualifier, the 22-year-old from Metz ended two strokes clear of fellow Frenchwoman Caroline Afonso, sealing her place in her first major championship.
“It was amazing. I didn’t really expect that because I thought it was complicated. There were 25 of us playing for two spots and I know everyone wants to play this tournament and I said, just play your game and we’ll see.
“I am really looking forward to playing in the Evian Championship because it’s a major now, it’s in France, so it’s very special for me to play in this tournament because all my friends and family will come to see me, because it’s not very far from where I live in Biarritz. They have followed me since I started playing golf so they are very proud of me for playing in this tournament.
“Evian is just beautiful and very nice to play because all the holes are different and you have to hit a draw, a fade and not a driver each time on the tee. The par threes are really different distances and the greens are very hard. This is the most difficult aspect of the course. All the greens run down to Lac Leman, this is what someone who lives around there told me: ‘You know, all the greens go down to Lac Leman, so if you don’t really see the line of your putt, remember that.’ It is good to know that.”
From eight Ladies European Tour events played so far this season, Ariane has made four cuts with a season best tie for 20th at the Deloitte Ladies Open in Holland and she is lying 116th on the order of merit with earnings of €7,365. On her ambitions for the Evian Championship, she says: “I would like to make the cut of course and then I would like to play with really good players. All the girls who are playing the LPGA, just to see how I am and how they play, what I need to do to be better.”
On Thursday and Friday, she will tee up with Australian Lindsey Wright and Kris Tamulis of the USA at 9:14 and 13:54 respectively and if she makes the cut to the leading 70 players and ties, she will earn at least $6,623, or approximately €5,133, almost doubling her earnings for the year.