South Korea’s In Gee Chun set her sights on an impressive record with a third-round six under par 65 at the Evian Championship in France yesterday.
Last year’s US Women’s Open Champion was like a well-oiled machine in the final major of the season and posted a 19 under par total to move four shots ahead of nearest challenger and fellow-Korean, Sung Hyun Park.
Park shot 67 and was another two shots ahead of China’s Feng Shanshan (69), with Ryu So Yeon in fourth place on 12 under after a 69.
Catriona Matthew had a 72 for two over par and was well down the field. And, with heavy rain forecast, the final round could turn into a hard slog.
“It’s already very wet and the forecast is terrible,” said the only Scot in the field.
England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff had a wonderful day. She shot seven under par 64 – the joint best of the round – and leapt into the top 15 on five under par.
She is already eyeing a return to the Solheim Cup in Iowa next year. “I played in the winning side in 2013 and it was the best week of my life,” she said. “It’s still a long way away, but I do want to make the side again.”
The final round should belong to Chun. Nineteen under par is the low 72-hole score for a women’s major and she also has a great chance of bettering the 20 under par major record set by Jason Day at last year’s PGA Championship and then matched by Henrik Stenson at this summer’s Open Championship at Royal Troon.
Chun had dropped only one shot in her opening 36 holes – she led by two shots at halfway – but she had to shrug off a nasty double-bogey seven at the long ninth in round three. She sliced her second shot into woods, found it , but deemed it unplayable.
The one damaging shot cut her lead from four to two and then she had another shake when Park birdied the tenth to reduce the advantage to just one.
But, unruffled, she hit back in style with birdie at the 11th and then her hole of the day came at the 15th where she chipped in from 20 yards for an eagle there.
A birdie two from close range at the 16th was another cruel blow for her pursuers.
“The game plan for tomorrow is just to keep doing the same thing,” said 22-year-old Chun, who is in her first year on the LPGA Tour. “I’m not going to think about winning. I just want to keep enjoying what I am doing. I have got more confident as the year went on and getting to play at the Olympics was a huge boost.”
Park has won five times on the Korean LPGA tour this year and has yet to make the move to America. But she hopes history will repeat itself – her last win came from four behind going into the last round.
“I know I need to shoot low tomorrow,” said the 22-year-old, who shot 63 in the first round. “I have known In Gee since we were at elementary school. We are good friends.”
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko had a day to forget. The defending champion had a four-over-par 75 and finished 19 shots behind the leader and just inside the top 40.
Charley Hull, who played alongside Matthew for Team GB at the Olympic Games, was the third Briton to make the cut and she shot 73 for one over par.