Golf: Thai Jutanugarn moves ahead in Evian

Moriya Jutanugarn competes during the Evian Championship women's golf tournament on Sept 16, 2017.
Moriya Jutanugarn competes during the Evian Championship women's golf tournament on Sept 16, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

EVIAN, France (REUTERS) - Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand took a bold step towards a first major title when she carded a three-under-par 68 to claim the lead at a tightly-contested Evian championships on Saturday (Sept 17).

Jutanugarn, whose younger sister Ariya is a major champion, stayed composed throughout, mixing five birdies and two bogeys to snatch the lead from US Open champion Park Sung-hyun.

The South Korean, who started the day with a two-shot lead over Jutanugarn, had four bogeys to only two birdies as she slipped down to fourth.

Japan's Ayako Uehara is a close second, one shot behind Jutanugarn's tally of nine-under-par 133 after firing a five-under 66.

Uehara could have been level with Jutanugarn had she not missed out on a birdie when she missed a simple putt on the eighth green.

"I don't remember that I had my best major finish here," said the 23-year-old Jutanugarn, 10th in Evian in 2014.

"I just want to keep playing my game the whole week and enjoy it on the course."

Australian Katherine Kirk was third after a two-under-par 69, meaning the top three are all within two strokes.

"Hey you know what I can win out there, and just keep believing and keep doing the right things, and you never know what happens," Kirk said.

Defending champion Chun In-gee was seven shots back after mixing three birdies with two bogeys in a one-under-par 70.

Bad weather wiped out play on Thursday and the championship was shortened to 54 holes.