EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (AP) South Korean In Gee Chun remains firmly on course for the second major of her career – and a possible golfing record – after posting a superb 6-under 65 in the third round of the Evian Championship on Saturday.
Holding a four-shot lead over countrywoman Sung Hyun Park, Chun is at 19-under overall.
Chun, the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open champion, had six birdies and an eagle for the round. Her score could have been lower, if not for a double bogey on the ninth hole. After slicing from the fairway into the woods, the ball buried under foliage on an incline.
Discussing what to do with her caddie for several minutes, Chun finally decided against a drop shot and declared it unplayable, going back to where she had taken the shot from and incurring a two-stroke penalty.
But it takes more than that to ruffle the 22-year-old Chun, who seems impervious to pressure.
Her eagle on the 15th was a brilliant 35-yard chip from the back of the green that rolled up and across the green with perfect weighting, prompting her to raise her arm triumphantly. Fans wrapped in warm clothing and wearing rain coats cheered their approval.
Chun was smiling again after the next hole, another birdie, moved her up to 19-under. The last two holes were mere pars.
Sunday could be a record-breaking day for Chun, who remains on course for the lowest ever 72-hole score in a major.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Australian Jason Day own the major record for men and women at 20 under, while the women’s record of 19 under is shared by four players.
Chun was the overnight leader, with Park second and Shanshan Feng – China’s only major winner – two shots further back. Park made four birdies in a consistent 67.
Feng, who started slowly with four pars and a bogey on five, got her game together too late, drifting six shots behind after making 69.
South Korean So Yeon Ryu, who has been remarkably consistent with only one bogey in three rounds – on her 10th hole Saturday – is seven shots behind Chun in fourth place.
A good day for South Koreans was made even better with I.K. Kim shooting 64, including eight birdies and a bogey, to rise to fifth. But she is nine strokes behind Chun, while American veteran Angela Stanford is 10 adrift in sixth spot after making par.
Heavy rain is forecast for Sunday’s final round.