Karrie Webb. Photo: Getty
South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim shot a 1-over 72 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead at the Evian Championship. The KLPGA member sits atop the leaderboard at 8-under par and will be paired with LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Karrie Webb (70) on Sunday in the final group. Webb trails Kim by just one shot and is seeking her eight major title this week. M.J. Hur sits in solo third at 6-under par while Anna Nordqvist (70) and Mariajo Uribe (70) are tied for fourth and three shots back.
Windy conditions in the afternoon and some challenging pin placements on Saturday provided a tough test for the field at Evian Resort Golf Club. High numbers popped up on the scoreboard throughout the day and provided plenty of movement on the leaderboard throughout the day.
Kim was 2-over through nine holes on Saturday but bounced back with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13. The 19-year old said she was well aware of where she stood all day with leaderboards in front of her on many holes but said she didn’t mind. Making her major championship debut, Kim has shown nerves of steel through the first three rounds and says she’s not only excited for a chance to win, but is excited to hold the trophy.
Webb attributed getting through an up-and-down day to keeping her emotions in check and her steely mental game.
“Yeah, sure was. Didn’t hit it very good early,” said Webb. “Well, I started off with a birdie. Two good swings down the first. Struggled a little bit there through the middle of the front nine. Really just hung in there. The conditions were challenging today with the breeze.”
The final three holes proved to be a challenge to many players on Saturday and Webb was please to finish on a high note. The par 3 16th hole was playing the most difficult while the 17th hole was ranked fourth.
“There are some really tough shots coming in. You know, 16, that was playing quite challenging today to pick the right club,” said Webb. “And you got to keep it right of the hole. It was a tough two-putt even from where I hit it. So challenging finish, but I did a really good job and finished the last four in 2-under. That really made my round.”
Karrie Webb relishes the idea of contending for her eighth major title in France this week and also has a chance at history.
She’s currently tied for seventh with Juli Inkster with seven career major titles. She could move into a tie for sixth with Betsy Rawls with No. 8.
“Just happy to be in this position. It’s been a while. Since the start of the year really that I’ve has a legitimate chance to win a tournament,” said Webb. “So I feel good about where I’ve put myself. Proud of my scrambling the last couple days. Hopefully I’ve got a bit more of those in me tomorrow.”
Webb has two victories already this season but both came in her first four starts of 2014. Her performances in majors haven’t been dazzling; her best finish was a T11 at the Kraft Nabisco and finished T25 or worse in the other three.
She’s the only player in LPGA Tour history to win titles at five different majors, completing the “Super Career Grand Slam” when she won the 2002 Weetabix Women’s British Open. If she wins on Sunday, she would have wins at six different majors. When asked what she thinks the feat could be called, the veteran said ask her on Sunday if she has the trophy in her hands.
“Well, let’s wait and see if we have to think about it tomorrow,” said Webb. “Then we can talk about it.”
Minjee Lee recovered after a shakey start to her third round, and is tied for 15th place at 1 under par heading into the final round. It was a disappointing day for the other Australians to make the cut, Katherine Kirk shot a 6 over par 77 to be tied for 47th, Sarah Kemp a five over par 76 to be 69th while Sarah Jane Smith had a day to forget with a twelve over par 83 to be in 72nd place.