Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko has some work to do to defend her title at the Evian Championship.
No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn has even more to do if she’s going to win back-to-back majors.
With a 1-under-par 70 Thursday, Ko is tied for 28th, seven shots off the lead.
With a 73, Jutanguarn is tied for 65th, 10 shots back.
After hitting every fairway on the front nine, Ko struggled with her driver on the back nine, hitting just two fairways but scrambling to reach red numbers.
“It was tricky for me, because on the back nine I really wasn't hitting fairways,” Ko said. “I was making up and downs. It was a good thing my wedge shots or chip shots were good enough, where I was able to get off with par. Hopefully, I will be able to hit some more fairways tomorrow.”
Ko knows she can go low at Evian. She shot 63 in the final round to close out her victory last year.
Making her way around the course Thursday, Ko saw In Gee Chun posting 63 in the morning round. Sung Hyun Park matched it in the afternoon. Four rounds of 64 or better were posted in the first round.
“It seems like every year there is a really low one, and I always wonder, `Man, where was that from?’” Ko said. “It's not an easy golf course, especially with the rough being juicy.”
Though Jutanugarn played without a driver again, she still struggled to hit fairways. She missed five fairways, leading to a triple bogey and two bogeys against three birdies. She was so deep in the rough at the fourth hole, she was only able to advance her approach shot 10 feet.