Lee6 Jeongeun tightened her grip on the Evian Championship on Saturday as she followed her magical second round 61 with a more measured round of 68 which still contained one remarkable shot that suggested this will be her week.
Three ahead at halfway in the fourth major of the season, the former US Open champion extended her lead to five when she holed an 89-yard wedge shot for an eagle two at the par four 12th.
The 25-year-old South Korean went on to shoot a 68 for an 18 under par 195 and a five-shot lead over the talented 19-year-old American Yealimi Noh who went round in 67.
Lydia Ko, the 2015 champion, also made a 68 to lie third, a further stroke back.
Lee6 was in control most of the day with the only slight hiccup coming at the 17th where she pulled her second shot and did well to escape with a bogey five.
“I am satisfied with my result today but it was a bit up and down,” she said.
“I was behind going into the final round of the US Open so this is going be very different.”
That major in 2019 is actually her only LPGA victory.
“I am waiting so much for my second win and if it is another major that would be even more amazing,” she continued.
“I know I am going to be very nervous tomorrow.”
Playing alongside Lee6, the two Thai players in joint second overnight both slipped backwards.
Pajaree Anannarukarn had a 72 and was in joint fourth place on 11 under while Ariya Jutanugarn appeared to jar her wrist hitting a shot early in the round and hit a few wayward shots from the tee.
At the long ninth, she hit a fence and ended up with a double bogey seven. The two-time major champion posted a disappointing 73 for 10 under.
Noh saved her best for last with birdies at the final three holes to raise her hopes of collecting a first major.
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “It’s going to be a long day and it is going to be tough mentally. It’s my eighth week in a row which is my first time doing that. It’s definitely tiring.
“But I’m hoping that I can fight it out mentally and just rest and just play my game tomorrow. I don’t want to think about chasing. If I get there, then I will.”
For Ko, who ended a three-year victory drought in Hawaii in April, the return to Evian is always special and brings back great memories.
“When I won in 2015 there was a lot of pressure because it was the final chance to beat Morgan’s (Pressel) record and become the youngest ever major winner,” said the 24-year-old former world number one from New Zealand.
“But it made me believe that I could compete at that level and win majors.
“I didn’t know how far behind I was today but I am just going to go out tomorrow, hope the weather is sunny, and try to shoot as low as possible.”