29 Jul 2023 | Professional golf |

Lee in striking distance of third major title

by Golf Australia

Minjee Lee at the 2023 Amundi Evian Championship
Minjee Lee at the 2023 Amundi Evian Championship

Back at the scene of her first victory in a major championship, Minjee Lee put herself well into the picture for a third with a Saturday charge at The Amundi Evian Championship in France.

The 2019 champion produced a 5-under-par 66 at Evian Resort Golf Club to climb to a share of third place at 7-under for the tournament, just four shots from the leader and overwhelming crowd favourite, Frenchwoman Celine Boutier (67), entering tonight’s final round.

Japan’s Nasa Hataoka (68), who came close to her first major at the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach, holds second at 8-under, while Canada’s Brooke Henderson (67) sits alongside Lee and will be with last year’s US Open champion in the second last group on the final day.

With tee times moved forward to avoid heavy afternoon rain, the Australian started her day with two birdies in her first four holes before back-to-back bogeys at the fifth and sixth.

However, Lee was blemish-free from there on. A long putt on the seventh produced the first of back-to-back birdies and she cruised through the back nine with birdies at the 12th, 15th and 18th holes to close the gap to the top spot.

"I felt like it was kind of coming together so hopefully I can keep the momentum going for tomorrow," Lee said.

On a good day for the Australians, the four players who made the halfway cut all shot under-par rounds to improve their overall position.

Steph Kyriacou (68) is at even-par after climbing 22 spots into a tie for 30th place heading into the final day, one shot ahead of Sarah Kemp (68) in equal 39th, while Evian debutant Karis Davison (70) is at 2-over, sharing 47th position.

A winner of two events in Australia, including the 2019 Vic Open at 13th Beach, Boutier didn’t appear to be affected by the pressure she said she was feeling leading a major in her home country into the weekend.

Her third round had five birdies, including a chip-in at the second, and just one bogey.

She could have been a shot further ahead for Sunday's final round had a makeable birdie try on the final hole fallen.

The round of the day came from world No.2 Nelly Korda who climbed to equal fifth at 6-under with her 64, adding the American to the very talented group of players trying to run down Boutier.

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