2022 Amundi Evian Championship: Albane Valenzuela finds momentum at Evian – the course where her parents met
Thirty-one years ago, Diane and Alberto Valenzuela met during an exhibition match at Evian Golf Resort. Three decades later, their 24-year-old daughter is in contention at the Amundi Evian Championship.
Albane Valenzuela represents Switzerland and is still looking for her first LPGA victory after turning pro in 2020. It would be serendipitous, to say the least, if that maiden win came at the place where her parents met – and a major, to boot.
The Stanford golf alum is 36 holes into a challenging test in the backyard of her hometown, Geneva, Switzerland, slowly climbing the leaderboard to T-11 after Round 3 and improving her score each day: 70-69-64.
“I just played really solid, but I feel like I haven’t necessarily played the course any different,” Valenzuela said. “I just dropped a few putts.”
A “few” dropped putts resulted in eight birdies and a 7-under 64. The lone bogey on her card came on the par-3 14th, one shot off the lowest score of the week.
In 18 starts in the five women’s majors, Valenzuela has made the cut nine times, with Evian dishing out arguably her worst track record before this year: six starts, one cut (T-37). This year, it seems Valenzuela has become more comfortable, not just at Evian, but with her game, in general.
“After the Palos Verdes [Championship], I stayed with my college roommates, and just finding that balance again of me – Albane as a young woman – and me – Albane as a golfer – are not the same,” Valenzuela said Saturday. “They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”
Finding balance doesn’t equal being too comfortable to be competitive, and it definitely doesn’t mean she isn’t aware of the missed opportunities on her card, even after an outstanding day.
“You know, I think I gave myself even more opportunity,” Valenzuela elaborated on her birdie mindset. “Even on the back nine, I actually missed a lot of putts for birdie: 18 I missed, 16 I missed, 15 I missed, I missed shorter putt on 14. And I felt the entire day I just gave myself opportunities. I was never far off.”
Not far off from more birdies and not far off from the lead – she sits just seven strokes back – Valenzuela finds herself in a chase with some of the world’s best.
Maybe it won’t all come together perfectly – the maiden win at a major on the course where her parents met – but even a career-best major finish would be an exciting ending to another inspiring chapter in the Valenzuela family’s Evian scrapbook.