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Saso to play at Evian major

FIVE of the top 20 players in the world rankings, including Lexi Thompson and Danielle Kang, will not play in the Evian Championship, the fourth major of the LPGA Tour season.

The Evian, played annually in France at a resort of the same name, is scheduled for July 22-25. This year’s tour schedule packs in two majors (the Evian and the Women’s Open at Carnoustie) and the Tokyo Olympics in the span of a month, July 22 to Aug. 22.

The deadline to commit to the event was Tuesday, according to Golfweek, and Kang and Thompson do not appear in the official field list. They have not publicly said why; however, Kang and Thompson are two of the four women who’ll compete at the Olympics for Team USA, so the tight schedule may have factored into their decision.

Earlier this season, Hannah Green of Australia and Shanshan Feng of China said they would take time off from the tour schedule to prepare for the Olympics. Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, the runner-up at last month’s US Women’s Open, also did not appear on the field list.

That’s not to say the Evian field will be weak. All three of this season’s major champions — Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit (ANA Inspiration), Philippines’ Yuka Saso (US Open) and World No. 1 Nelly Korda (Women’s PGA Championship) — have committed to play in France. So has Korda’s sister Jessica Korda, the final member of the American Olympic team after her sister, Thompson and Kang.

World No. 2 Jin Young Ko of South Korea will look to defend her 2019 Evian title. The major was not contested in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. — Reuters

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