Evian Championship 2019

Golf: South Korean stars rise to the fore at Evian Championship

Kim Hyo-joo.
Kim Hyo-joo.

EVIAN (France) • South Korean golf flexed its muscle at the Evian Championship yesterday as a quartet of the country's Major winners stormed to the top of the leaderboard.

Kim Hyo-joo, who won this event in 2014, had four birdies in her final six holes to finish with a six-under 65. It left her at 15-under 198, one clear of compatriot Park Sung-hyun, who shot a 66.

The world No. 1 Park is seeking her third Major after wins at the 2017 US Women's Open and 2018 Women's PGA Championship.

A further three strokes behind on 202 were this year's ANA Inspiration champion Ko Jin-young (66) and Park In-bee (69), owner of seven Majors.

For Kim, 24, a second Evian title will be just as sweet as the first. She had eight birdies yesterday and needed just 23 putts, proof of her ease around the greens at the Evian Resort Golf Club.

"I'm not going to think about what other players are thinking about," said the world No. 18. "Just going to work on my own game.

"I definitely have good memories of this tournament because of my win. I'm going to keep that going into tomorrow and forget everything else."

 
 
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  • Putts South Korean leader Kim Hyo-joo needed in the third round. The 2014 Evian Championship winner had eight birdies, including four in her final six holes, to finish with six-under 65.

It will be hard to forget the piece of magic Sung-hyun conjured up at the par-five ninth as she holed out a bunker shot for an eagle.

A missed birdie putt from four feet on the par-three 16th at least showed she was fallible.

While thunderstorms are expected today, it is unlikely to dent her focus.

"I don't think anything is going to change with the weather," she said. "All players have experienced it. I have played in the rain a lot of times so I will focus on my game.

"As long as I keep going like I did today, I'll have a good round."

For seventh-ranked In-bee, who mixed four bogeys with six birdies, the third round was about keeping alive her dream of a Super Slam - winning all five different Majors.

She remained quietly confident, even though erasing a four-shot lead will not be easy.

She said: "I played with Hyo-joo the last two days and she's pretty solid. I don't think she's going to falter that much. I think it's going to be a low one . Has to be."

Former world No. 1 Feng Shanshan is also in with a shout after a 68 for a 203 total. The Chinese captured the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic earlier this month to snap a 19-month winless run.


EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 28, 2019, with the headline 'South Korean stars rise to the fore'. Print Edition | Subscribe