Tiger Woods’ niece received a nifty gift for her birthday -- her first trip to France and a sponsor’s exemption into this week’s Evian Masters. Cheyenne Woods celebrated her 22nd birthday on July 25 and promptly went out and shot a 1-under-par 71 in Thursday’s opening round of the joint LPGA-European Ladies Tour event.
After making the turn on Friday at 2-under to get to 3-under for the week, it appeared that Woods was taking full advantage of a last-minute invitation to join the festivities in France. In a tie for 22nd after 12 holes, the Wake Forest standout with the famous uncle also seemed well on her way to earning her first cut as a professional.
"There’s pressure that comes along with the name [Woods], but it helps me to have opportunities such as this," Woods said in a pre-tournament interview. "I’ve grown up with the name so it’s something that I’m used to now."
Moving in the opposite direction was world No. 1 Yani Tseng. After making a third bogey of the day at No. 10, the top-ranked player was even-par for her round but 4-over for the week and tied for 84th. The top 70 players and ties will play the weekend. Another missed cut -- after bouncing out of the NW Arkansas Championship last month, her first MC in more than a year -- would certainly compound the confidence problems that have been plaguing Tseng since the start of the 2012 season and could make new caddie Basil van Rooyen’s stint as her bagman a short one.
Among other notables in the star-studded field was Paula Creamer, who spent some time in England last week preparing for September’s Women’s British Open. The 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion went low in the second round to jump into contention. Creamer fired a bogey-free 5-under 67 on Friday, which, combined with her opening 68, put her in solo third at 9-under -- just three strokes back of countrywoman Stacy Lewis -- with much of the field still on the course.
Lewis, who tied the Evian Golf Club course record (63) on Friday as well as beating her personal LPGA Tour best by one shot, was still the early leader in the clubhouse with a one-shot advantage over Ilhee Lee. Julieta Granada fired a 7-under 65 after a first-round 74, and Christina Kim and Brittany Lincicome matched Creamer’s 67 to move into ties for 15th.
Michelle Wie scored a 73 on her first day, and at even through 12 on Friday, held a share of 53rd place. With more work to do to make the weekend was Lexi Thompson. Last year’s teen wunderkind was a member of the marquee trio with Wie and Tseng for the first two rounds and started her French adventure with a 72. She was 1-over through 12 on Friday and in a logjam with several others in 77th, just below the projected cut line.