Inbee Park seeks 4th major victory of 2013 at LPGA's Evian Championship

Matthew Lewis

The top 120 golfers from the LPGA and Ladies European Tours vie for a $3.25 million Evian Championship purse in the women’s fifth and final major of the 2013 season this week in France.

Inbee Park came up short in her bid to win four straight major championships in a single season when she finished T42 at the Women's British Open. With the LPGA adding a fifth major to its 2013 schedule, however, the world No. 1 has a chance this week to become the first golfer ever to capture four grand-slam events in the same calendar year.

Park, the defending champion, began her steady climb to the top last year, when the event in Evian-les-Bains, France, was a regular tour stop. The South Korean rolled to a two-shot victory over Karrie Webb and Stacy Lewis on the strength of her putting, which has become her signature.

On her way to posting a final-round 6-under 66 for her first win since the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open, Park one-putted 11 greens. The 25-year-old, who has recorded seven Ws and five second-place finishes since her Evian victory last July -- including wins in three straight majors during the 2013 campaign -- will face different putting surfaces on the revamped Evian Resort Golf Club course.

The 120-player field of the top golfers from the LPGA and Ladies European Tour return to Lake Geneva after a 14-month, multi-million-dollar renovation that yielded a 6,428-yard, par-71 track with larger and faster greens and new tees and fairways on a more challenging layout.

Two dramatic changes architects made were to the fifth hole, formerly a blind par-4 that is now a picturesque but demanding par-3 guarded by water at the front and bunkers to either side of the green, and to No. 18. No longer a reachable par-5, the finishing hole was reconfigured into a 442-yard, par-4.

While players told GolfChannel.com’s Randall Mell they were generally pleased with the course overhaul, the new sod has not taken in all places and the greens are not as uniform as they would like.

"I think it’s okay," Cristie Kerr, the winner of two majors, told Mell. "Obviously, it’s not in the shape they wanted. That’s just the way it is when you try to get it all done in such a short period of time, but we do love this place."

As for whether LPGA commissioner was right to add a fifth major to the schedule, competitors seemed lukewarm about it in their comments to Mell.

"I'm definitely not against a fifth major," Kerr said. "They just have to be careful. You don't want 15 majors. You want them to be really special."

Evian Masters champion of 2005, Paula Creamer, said she was "okay with it.

"It's another chance to win a major," concluded the 2010 U.S. Women's Open titleholder.

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