Lewis, Park share lead at Evian Masters
Stacy Lewis of the United States overcame a shaky start and signed for a 73 to stay in the lead after a rainy third day at the Evian Masters in France.
However, Inbee Park of Korea joined her at 11 under after a round of 70 on the Evian Masters Golf Course, while there are 14 players within three strokes of the lead going into the last round.
The 2006 event champion Karrie Webb, 2007 winner Natalie Gulbis and 17-year-old amateur Hyo Joo Kim sit just one shot off the lead.
They are only one clear of Cristie Kerr on nine under, while a further eight players are within three shots of the lead. They include Spanish Ladies European Tour rookie Carlota Ciganda, European Solheim Cup players Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist, the 2005 Evian Masters champion Paula Creamer, recent major champion Shanshan Feng of China and 2010 LET money list winner Lee-Anne Pace.
“That was one of the hardest days,” said Lewis, who was 14 under after 11 holes but slipped back into a five-way share of the lead at 10 under after a bogey at 14 was followed by a double bogey at the par-five 15th.
“I was pretty frustrated on the front nine and didn’t make anything. The wheels came off in the middle. I opened the door and I’m frustrated about that. I just have to work harder tomorrow.”
Knowing that she needed to birdie the last to get into the last group on Sunday, Lewis rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on 18 to stay level with her playing partner, Park, the 2008 US Women’s Open champion.
Park also birdied the last for a solid round of 70 containing four birdies and two bogeys to get into contention for her second LPGA title and said: “Today was a tough day. Out of all three days, the playing conditions were the toughest today because of a little bit of rain and wind, but I’m really satisfied the way I hung in there today.”
The leaders will be looking over their shoulders at Kim in the final round. The Korean teen, who celebrated her 17th birthday earlier this month, has been making waves in Asia by becoming the youngest winner of a professional tournament on both the LPGA of Japan and the Korean LPGA Tour.
She won the Lotte Mart Championship on home soil in February and the Suntori Ladies Open in Japan in May.
Aged 16, Kim was two years younger than Ai Miyazato when she won as an amateur in Japan and some Korean media outlets have reported that she is better than Jiyai Shin.
Although she speaks no English, the Ladies European Tour understands that there is a battle going on between some of the biggest Korean corporations – reported to be as many as five conglomerates – to sponsor Hyo Joo Kim once she turns pro.
She will turn professional at the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship in October where she is planning to participate as one of the sponsor invitations.
She was exempt for the Evian Masters on account of her Rolex Ranking as, after her two victories in professional tournaments, she is ranked 83rd in the world.
At seven under par, the 2010 Evian Masters champion Shin, Australian Lindsey Wright, Japan’s Mika Miyazato and Korean Ilhee Lee are still in the hunt, setting up a mouth-watering battle for Sunday.
The final round will start at 7.40am and the leading pair of Lewis and Park will tee off at 12.40pm, starting from one tee as normal.
LEADING THIRD-ROUND SCORES
205 - Stacy Lewis (USA) 63 69 73, Park Inbee (KOR) 71 64 70
206 - Karrie Webb (AUS) 70 69 67, Natalie Gulbis (USA) 69 69 68, Kim Hyo-Joo (KOR) 69 68 69
207 - Christie Kerr (USA) 71 69 67
208 - Carlota Ciganda (ESP) 73 69 66, Lee-Anne Pace (RSA) 69 71 68, Suzann Pettersen (NOR) 69 71 68, Feng Shanshan (CHN) 68 72 68, Pak Se Ri (KOR) 70 69 69, Anna Nordqvist (SWE) 72 67 69, Park Youn Hee (KOR) 65 72 71, Paula Creamer (USA) 68 67 73
209 - Lindsay Wright (AUS) 71 70 68, Shin Jiyai (KOR) 69 69 71, Mika Miyazato (JPN) 67 69 73, Hee Il Hee (KOR) 66 67 76
210 - Becky Morgan (GBR) 70 71 69, Momoko Ueda (JPN) 69 72 69, Han Hee-Won (KOR) 72 69 69, Kang Haiji (KOR) 72 70 68, Cheyenne Woods (USA) 71 69 70, Karine Icher (FRA) 70 72 68, Azahara Munoz (ESP) 70 68 72, Julieta Granada (PAR) 74 65 71, Lee Meena (KOR) 69 69 72, Ryu Seon Ru (KOR) 73 65 72
211 - Ai Myazato (JPN) 71 70, Shin Jenny (KOR) 73 69 69, Lee Mirim (KOR) 73