Golf: Duo chasing Major breakthrough

Kim Sei-young was on 12-under 201 and in second spot, trailing American Amy Olson (65) by two strokes.
Kim Sei-young was on 12-under 201 and in second spot, trailing American Amy Olson (65) by two strokes.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

EVIAN (France) • South Korean Kim Sei-young stormed up the Evian Championship leaderboard yesterday, after a sparkling seven-under 64 that left her in serious contention to end her quest for a maiden Major.

The 25-year-old was on 12-under 201 and in second spot, trailing American Amy Olson (65) by two strokes heading into today's final round of the year's fifth and last Major.

Olson's compatriot Mo Martin, the 2014 Women's British Open winner, signed for a 69 and was third, one clear of an impressive trio that featured seven-time Major champion Park In-bee (67), reigning British Open winner Georgia Hall (68) and American veteran Angela Stanford (68).

For Kim, a seven-time winner on the LPGA Tour, and the 26-year-old Olson, who has yet to lift a trophy since turning professional in 2013, this represents uncharted territory.

The closest Kim has come is finishing second to countrywoman Park at the 2015 Women's PGA Championship. Kim also squandered a 54-hole lead at that year's ANA Inspiration before ending joint-fourth.

The world No. 19 arrived in Europe in solid form, though. She captured the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in July by setting a new all-time 72-hole Tour scoring record at 31 under.

She was faultless yesterday around the 5,965m set-up as she racked up seven birdies without dropping a shot at Evian-les-Bains.

World No. 89 Olson also returned to the scoring tent with a blemish-free scorecard, rolling in four birdies and an eagle to take control of the US$3.85 million (S$5.29 million) tournament.

A victory here, besides the winner's share of US$577,500, would be a stunning breakthrough for the North Dakota native, whose best result was seventh at the LPGA Lotte Championship in 2014.

She has missed the cut 12 times since the start of last season but showed her mettle with a tied-ninth finish at this year's ANA Inspiration.

Notable names that missed the cut on Friday included world No. 1 Park Sung-hyun, American star Lexi Thompson and 2017 Women's PGA Championship winner Danielle Kang.

EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 16, 2018, with the headline 'Duo chasing Major breakthrough'. Print Edition | Subscribe