Saturday’s roundup: Chun in control at Evian
Evian-les-Bains, France — South Korean golfer In Gee Chun knows she’s in sight of her second major — and a record — after extending her lead to four shots after the third round of the Evian Championship on Saturday.
Chun carded a 6-under 65 in the rain to go to 19-under overall at Evian Resort.
“My game plan for tomorrow is not to think about winning,” Chun said. “Because it puts too much pressure on me.”
Her countrywoman Sung Hyun Park (67) was at 15 under, and Feng Shanshan (69), China’s only major winner, two shots further back.
Chun, the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open champion, had six birdies and an eagle in a round blemished only by 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 decided against a drop shot and declared it unplayable, going back to where she took the shot from and incurring a two-stroke penalty.
But it takes more than that to ruffle Chun.
“I just want to enjoy everything,” she said.
Her eagle on the 15th was a 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 raincoats cheered.
Chun was smiling again after the next hole, another birdie, moved her 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.
Henrik Stenson and 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.
With Chun struggling on nine and then missing a birdie chance on 10, Park birdied those two to move one shot behind her.
It was only brief hope, because Chun was all smiles again when she restored her overnight two-shot advantage with a birdie on 11.
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 on Saturday — was 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.
“I hit probably better yesterday to be honest, but today on the par 5s I was able to reach on the back nine,” Kim said. “So I was able to birdie on those.”
Overall, she was nine strokes behind Chun, while American veteran Angela Stanford was 10 adrift in sixth place.
Defending champion Lydia Ko of New Zealand had a terrible day, making six bogeys in a 4-over 75, and was 19 shots behind Chun in a tie for 36th.
More rain was forecast for Sunday’s final round, and tee times were moved forward by a couple of hours.
At Pebble Beach, California, Kevin Sutherland birdied four his last six holes at Pebble Beach for a 4-under 68 and the second-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ Nature Valley First Tee Open.
The 52-year-old Sutherland had an 8-under 135 total for a one-stroke lead over Paul Broadhurst, the Englishman who won the Senior British Open at Carnoustie in July.
From Sacramento, Sutherland is winless on the 50-and-over tour after winning once on the PGA Tour. In 2014, he set the senior tour record with a 13-under 59 in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
Broadhurst followed his opening 66 with a 70 at Poppy Hills.
Some players were unable to finish before dark. France’s Jean Van de Velde was the top player still on the course at 3 under with two holes left.
At Boise, Idaho, Michael Thomson shot a 7-under 64 for a share of the third-round lead with Scott Stallings in the Web.com Tour Finals’ Albertson Boise Open.
Stallings, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, had a 66 to match Thompson at 16-under 197 at Hillcrest in the second of four events that will determine 25 PGA Tour cards for next season.
Argentina’s Miguel Angel Carballo was a stroke back after a 67. England’s Andrew “Beef” Johnston, the second-round leader after a 63, was fourth at 14 under after a 70.
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings — Stallings was 128th, Thompson 145th, and Carballo 187th — and non-members such as Johnston with enough PGA Tour money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup had they been eligible.
The top 25 players on the Web.com regular-season money list earned PGA Tour cards. They are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for 25 cards based on series earnings.
At Monza, Italy, France’s Alexander Levy had a one-stroke lead in the rain-plagued Italian Open when third-round play was suspended because of darkness.
Levy was 14 under after 12 holes when play was stopped. Masters champion Danny Willett, fellow Englishman Chris Paisley and Chris Hanson and Italy’s Francesco Molinari were tied for second. Willett completed eight holes, Paisley and Hanson nine, and Molinari 10.