EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (AP) — Mi Hyang Lee retained the lead in difficult weather in the third round of the Evian Championship, where teenager Lydia Ko remained in contention to become the youngest player to win a major.
Lee shot 1-under 70 for a 10-under total of 203 and a one-shot lead over American Lexi Thompson, who carded a 5-under 66. Lee was paired with Morgan Pressel (71), and they went toe to toe until the par-4 18th hole, when the American double-bogeyed after landing her second shot in water.
They played their final six holes in rain, wind and gloom.
Pressel shares third place with Ko, two shots off the pace. The 18-year-old Ko shot a 67 and is pursuing her last chance to become the youngest woman to clinch a major. If she wins this week, Ko will surpass Pressel, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship at 18 years, 10 months, 9 days back in 2007.
The fight for the title promises to go down to the wire on the foothills of the Alps, with only five shots separating the 11 best players heading into the final round.
The day started under blue skies and Pressel immediately applied pressure on Lee with a birdie on the par-4 first hole. Lee could not match her, conceding two consecutive bogeys on the course offering superb views over Lake Geneva.
Lee had another bogey on the par-3 14th but emerged from the round with four birdies and a superb par-putt on her final hole. Pressel put herself in trouble at the start of the par-5 9th, driving her ball onto a rough patch of grass below the fairway. She then missed her putt from the edge of the green to drop her first shot.
Amy Yang is tied for fifth place, three shots behind Lee, after a flying start with an eagle on the first hole, which she bogeyed in the second round.
A broad smile illuminated the South Korean’s face when she realized her shot had landed straight in the hole. The 2015 U.S. Open runner-up then high-fived her caddie and continued her surge back among the top 5. She sank a birdie-putt on No. 3 and picked up one more shot with a precise 15-foot put on the par-4 4th. But Yang also bogeyed three holes and finished with a 68.
Meanwhile, top-ranked Inbee Park, seeking a career Grand Slam, made four birdies but struggled on the back nine with three bogeys for a 70. She is tied for 16th on 2-under 211, eight shots off the pace, with American Michelle Wie (70).
Wie sank a 25-feet putt on the par-5 9th for her first eagle of the tournament.