South Africa’s Paula Reto opened the Amundi Evian Championship at the Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-Les-Bains, France on Thursday with a three-under-par 68 to take up position in a share of 11th after the first round.
She had a tough start when she birdied her first hole of the day, the 10th, but she made up that immediately with consecutive birdies on the 11th and 12th. Drops on the 15th and 17th saw her turn in one-over 37, but she was superb on her homeward nine, with birdie son one, five, seven and nine. That put her three shots off the pace being set at six-under by Yealimi Noh of the United States and Pajaree Anannarukarn of Thailand.
“Going on the range today, I said if I can just keep focusing on my targets and keep hitting those shots, the first couple holes I just tried to do it and I got in a good rhythm, and I just played the way out and I kept going with the full round,” said Reto.
Reto last played in the Evian Championship five years ago in 2016, when she finished in a share of 48th. “It’s nice to be back,” she said. “That was one of the goals for sure. I sort of had to quickly get stuff going because I didn’t start on the LPGA Tour in the beginning of the year and I sort of reshuffled and only got here mid-year. I had to quickly get going. So hopefully this will be a little bit better.”
On one of the most attractive courses imaginable, Reto had to keep her focus on her game. “There’s a lot of distraction, if you know what I mean, on this course,” she said, “so it’s really just honing in to the one specific thing I’m doing at the time, and it’s sometimes hard to sort of go into that moment, but I just really forced myself, literally trying to talk to myself one thing at a time, especially on this course, so I’m going to try to do it every other day from here on in.”
Behind Reto, Ashleigh Buhai made four birdies and two bogeys on her way to a two-under-par 69 and a share of 23rd, four strokes back of the lead. Lee-Anne Pace opened with a one-over 72 for a share of 76th after the first round.