Golf: Thai Jutanugarn moves ahead in Evian

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.

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