South Korean Chun In Gee fired a third round of six-under-par 65 at the Evian Resort Golf Club on Saturday to take a four stroke lead over compatriot Park Sung Hyun heading into the final round of the Evian Championship in France.
The 22-year-old Chun held her lead for the third day and at 19-under-par 194, she has broken the 54-hole Major record of 14-under-par 199 set by Annika Sorenstam at the 2004 LPGA Championship and equalled the winning score for 72 holes in a women’s Major.
The 72-hole record score of 19 under was set by Dottie Pepper at the 1999 Kraft Nabisco Championship and equalled by Karen Stupples (2004 Women’s British Open), Cristie Kerr (2010 LPGA Championship) and Yani Tseng (2011 Wegmans LPGA Championship).
The men’s 72-hole Major record of 20-under was set by Jason Day at the 2015 PGA Championship and equalled by Henrik Stenson at this year’s Open Championship. When asked if she would like to break the men’s record, Chun replied: “It would be a real honour.”
Chun began the third round, played in cool and dry but overcast conditions, two strokes ahead of Park (67) and China’s Feng Shanshan (69). After an early birdie on the second, Chun move three strokes ahead of the chasing pack. After missing a short birdie putt on the sixth, she made back to back gains on the seventh and eighth holes.
She suffered a set-back with a double bogey seven on the ninth after hitting her second shot from thick and wet rough across the fairway and down a steep slope into dense vegetation, taking an unplayable drop back at the ball’s original position. Then, after Park made a short birdie putt on the hole, Chun was one ahead at the turn.
Chun said: “After my double bogey I just thought about enjoying my back nine and letting it go.”
Park birdied the 10th but Chun responded with birdies on the 11th and 13th before chipping in from 20 yards for eagle on the sloping 15th green. A further birdie at the short 16th gave her a four-stroke lead and she is now ideally placed in her hunt for a second Major following the 2015 US Women’s Open.
Chun said: “I always try not to think about winning because it gives you too much pressure. My approach tomorrow will be the same: just enjoy my golf.
After Park, the next closest challenger is last year’s LET Order of Merit winner Feng on 13-under, with South Korean Ryu So Yeon a stroke further behind.
Last week’s ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters champion In-Kyung Kim moved into fifth place on 10-under after a seven-under 64, which tied the lowest round of the day with Jodi Ewart Shadoff from England, in joint 13th position. Of the other Europeans to make gains, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist is in a group sharing 17th and Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen is tied for 21st with Spain’s Carlota Ciganda. Pedersen, who had a two-under 69, said: “I was really good mentally, just thinking of one shot at a time. My putting is good and I’m scrambling really well.”
The defending champion Lydia Ko slipped back into tied 36th after a third-round 75. The final round tee times will be earlier than for the third round due to the threat of inclement weather with the leaders teeing off at 10.05am local time.