A walkoff eagle gave Morgan Pressel (67, -11) a 2-shot lead over Ji-Yai Shin (68, -9) and Jeong Jang (70, -9) heading into the final round of the Evian Masters. On the heels of these precision players are a pair of bombers, Brittany Lincicome (65, -8), who tied Hee-Won Han for low round of the day and the tournament on the strength of 6 birdies and an eagle on the par-4 16th, and Alexis Thompson (67, -8), who opened with a bogey-free 32 and erased a pair of bogeys on the back with a walkoff eagle of her own. Others taking advantage of moving day included Song-Hee Kim, whose 68 kept her within 5 shots of the lead, tied with Suzann Pettersen (71), Sun-Ju Ahn (71), Meena Lee (72), and Anja Monke (70), and Cristie Kerr (69, -2) and Inbee Park (69, -2), who both broke 70 for the 1st time this week, Kerr on the strength of a walkoff eagle and Park despite doubling the par-5 15th.
Not everyone was so fortunate, however. 2nd-round leader Mika Miyazato bogeyed 3 holes in a row early in her round and 2 of her last 6 to shoot her 1st round in the 70s (and over par) of the tournament, a 74 that dropped her back into a tie at -7 with Mayu Hattori (69 powered by a bogey-free 33 on the back), Na Yeon Choi (71 with a double on 17), and M.J. Hur (71 thanks to a -3 finish over her last 7 holes). Her playing partner Gwladys Nocera, who remained alone in 2nd yesterday thanks to a bogey save on 18 yesterday, made 5 more today and dropped all the way back to -4, alone in 21st, 1 shot ahea dof LPGA Rookie of the Year race leader Azahara Munoz (who like fellow rookie Mariajo Uribe fired a 68 today, although she didn't get a hole in 1 on the 2nd hole like Uribe did). Defending champion Ai Miyazato also made 5 bogeys today, although her 3 birdies kept her at -1 overall, tied for 33rd with Karrie Webb (69), Michelle Wie (70), In-Kyung Kim (71), and Angela Stanford (72), among others.
Hence, as we head into the final round, there are 14 players within 5 shots of the lead. If Pressel, Shin, and Jang continue to play well, it could end up being a 3-player race tomorrow. But if they stall or fall back, they would open the door to the 26 players at -3 or better. Given that scores ranged from -6 to +9 on Thursday, -5 to +5 on Friday, and -7 to +6 today, along with the fact that nobody has broken 70 all 3 rounds and only 7 players have managed to stay under par each day, I'd say anything can happen tomorrow. That's pretty much what Evian's finishing holes are designed for. Should be good!
[Update 1 (7/25/10, 9:36 am): Mike Southern has some reflections--and jokes--on short hitters and leaders. Not Tim Clark.]
[Update 2 (9:38 am): Jeff Skinner is impressed by Lexi Thompson's play this summer. Hey, she's beaten Ai Miyazato twice in a row when paired with her. Not bad!]
[Update 3 (11:13 am): Here's a focus on Gwladys Nocera from Evian:
Evian Masters TV 2010 - Day 3 Round Up #27
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[Update 4 (6:01 pm): Golf Channel highlights were pretty good for this round.]