France’s Boutier up 3 in pursuit of Evian title


Céline Boutier carded a 4-under 67 in the third round of the Evian Championship on Saturday to increase her lead to 3 shots going into the final day.

The 29-year-old is aiming to become the first Frenchwoman to win the tournament, which became a major in 2013.

“I didn’t start that good, to be honest. I missed the first three greens but got a good break on 2 and was able to chip in. Then I just had really good chances on the two par-5s, seven and nine, and was able to take advantage of that,” said Boutier, who had a bogey on the 12th hole in a round of five birdies. “I was just trying to focus on making, hitting a good shot, and if I happen to have a birdie opportunity, I hit a solid putt. It was definitely positive and felt pretty good to start very good on the front.”

Boutier’s closest challenger is Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, who posted a 68 on Saturday after rounds of 70 and 67.

“Hopefully I will get more birdies tomorrow. It was good iron shots and distance control,” Hataoka said. “Also I was good too with my putting stroke, so I was really comfortable. Tomorrow is another new day, and I want to enjoy the next 18 holes.”

Minjee Lee of Australia and Brooke Henderson of Canada are tied for third, a shot behind Hataoka. Henderson started strong, shooting a 29 on the front to tie the lowest nine-hole score ever at a major, before going 2 over on the back.

The round of the day was Nelly Korda‘s bogey-free, 7-under 64. The world No. 2 climbed to 6 under for the championship, tied for fifth with Yuka Saso (71).

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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