The Evian Championship organisation committee has just awarded its sponsor invitations. After awarding the “Rolex Girls Junior Player of the Year 2016 “, Thai amateur Paphangkorn Tavatanakit, the amateur hopefuls Albane Valenzuela (Switzerland), world n°3, and Agathe Laisné (France), recent winner of the European Championship, along with Natalie Gulbis, winner of the Evian Masters 2007, received a wildcard.
They join the field of 120 top players at the 5th and final major of the season (14-17 September 2017).
At the start of the year, as part of the partnership with the AJGA, the first exemption was granted to young Thai player Paphangkorn Tavatanakit (aged 17), crowned the Rolex Girls Junior Player of the Year 2016. Today, two other amateurs receive their ticket for the Evian Championship. France’s Agathe Laisné (aged 18) impressed with her incredible victory at the European Championship in Lausanne, as did Swiss player Albane Valenzuela (aged 19 and amateur world n°3), the runner-up at this event and who also represented her country at last year’s Rio Olympic Games.
The organization committee, loyal to the tournament’s values, has also decided to offer an exemption to Natalie Gulbis, Evian Masters champion 2007. These choices are in keeping with the spirit of The Evian Championship, which is to contribute to the emergence of the talents of tomorrow while remaining true to its values and sporting performance.
Paphangkorn Tavatanakit, Thai amateur (Aged 17)
First appearance at The Evian Championship
Paphangkorn “Patty” Tavatanakit (aged 17) won her ticket for the Evian Championship 2017 through her Rolex Girls Junior Player of the Year 2016 title. The UCLA college player and Thai number 1 amateur, had already showed what she was made of in 2014 at the Callaway Junior World Championship where she shot an incredible 60 (-12), an amazing feat.
Albane Valenzuela, Swiss amateur (Aged 19)
2 appearances at The Evian Championship (2015, 2016)
After representing Switzerland at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she performed well to finish 21st, Albane began studying at the prestigious Stanford University and is currently 3rd in the amateur world rankings. A bike accident in March forced her to withdraw from the ANA Inspiration but she has since returned to competition with her motivation sky high. She finished runner-up at the Ladies’ European Championship in Lausanne at the end of July.
Agathe Laisné, French amateur (Aged 18)
1 appearance at The Evian Championship (2015)
The RCF player has just achieved an incredible feat by toppling the favorite, Albane Valenzuela, who held a 8-shot lead, to take the title of Ladies’ European Champion, 5 years after her compatriot Céline Boutier. Prior to recently graduating from high school (with honors), she shone at the qualifiers for the US Women’s Amateur (7 to 13 August), finishing 1st, and will now take part in the event for the second time.
Natalie Gulbis, USA (Aged 34)
11 appearances at The Evian Championship, winner in 2007
Natalie Gulbis, who turned pro in 2001 and players on the LPGA Tour since 2002, is one of the champions who has marked the history of Evian with her fantastic win in 2007. Three times Solheim Cup winner with Team US (2005, 2007 and 2009), the champion returns to take on the top players.