Kim on top at Evian

First round leader Hyo-Joo Kim fired a third round one over 72 to regain her lead at the Evian Championship..

On a day when tricky gusts and tucked pin positions made the Evian Resort Golf Course play much tougher than the first two days, a round containing four birdies and five bogeys saw the 19-year-old South Korean end on eight-under-par, one stroke ahead of seven-time major champion Karrie Webb from Australia.

Kim, whose opening round of 10-under 61 was the lowest in major championship history, is now in the prime position to collect a major of her own. “I was calm, but if I win, I will get excited,” Kim said, through translation.

She felt that the par-3 16th hole was the toughest, because she watched fellow South Korean MJ Hur play in the pairing ahead. Hur was leading on nine-under-par after birdies on the fourth and seventh holes, but she triple bogeyed the 16th after topping a chip shot and sending the ball across the green into a water hazard.

She dropped in the same place and then took three more strokes for a six, on the hardest hole on the golf course, playing an average of 3.49 for the championship. The 2009 Safeway Classic champion recovered with two steady pars to sign for a 72 and outright third position on six-under-par. “I had a good round all day long except the No. 16,” said Hur. “I’m satisfied with this round because the pin positions were so tough all day long.”

The shot of the day was produced by Colombian Mariajo Uribe, who played in bare feet from the water hazard onto the 18th green, only to miss the putt resulting in a bogey. With matching rounds of 70, she and Swede Anna Nordqvist share fourth position on five-under-par, with Na Yeon Choi, Ha-Na Jang, Lydia Ko and halfway leader Brittany Lincicome all on three-under-par in a tie for sixth position.

The world’s first and second ranked players, Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park respectively, sit in a tie for 10th place just five strokes from the lead along with the defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who played the front nine in level par and birdied the 10th but slipped back with bogeys on 11 and 14 and then a double bogey on 17.

While there is an experienced chasing pack, Kim will be paired with LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Karrie Webb on Sunday, teeing off in the last group at 1.20pm. Korean LPGA rookie Kim is playing in her first major, whereas Webb is seeking her eighth major title and if she wins the Evian Championship, she will be the only player to have won all six of the different majors which have existed in her lifetime.