(Reuters) - Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand took a bold step toward a first major title when she carded a three-under-par 68 to claim the lead at a tightly-contested Evian championships on Saturday.
Jutanugarn, whose younger sister Ariya is a major champion, stayed composed throughout, mixing five birdies and two bogeys to snatch the lead from U.S. 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.
Reporting by Julien Pretot,; Editing by Ed Osmond