Chasing a first major title for herself, and a first for American women this season, Amy Olson fired a bogey-free 65 to take a two-shot lead after the Evian Championship third round on Saturday.
Olson broke clear to post a 14-under 199 total after twice being in a four-way share of the lead at the sun-soaked Evian Resort Golf Club at Evian-Les-Bains, France.
An eagle at the par-5 9th first took her clear, and she added three birdies on the back nine to stretch her lead over Sei Young Kim.
“I really enjoyed (the nerves), that means I care, right?” Olson said. “It was fun to start solid with a birdie on the first hole.”
Kim carded 64, flashing the form that set a U.S. LPGA Tour record 31-under winning total at the Thornberry Creek Classic in July. Mo Martin, a former Women’s British Open winner, was two shots back on 10 under.
A further shot back was a group of three players including Georgia Hall (68), who was a homegrown British Open winner last month.
Five Americans are in the top 10, seeking a first major at the fifth and final try this season and a winner’s check of $577,500. The year’s major winners have come from Sweden, Thailand, South Korea, and England.
The American challenge at Evian includes Ryann O’Toole, who made the biggest move on Saturday to be 8 under, tied for seventh. Her 63 was the lowest round this week.
Puerto Rico’s first-ever LPGA Tour player, Maria Torres, tied for the lead after each of the first two rounds and briefly shared the lead on Saturday. Torres dropped shots at the two closing par-4s and a 72 left her tied for 11th, seven shots back.
CHAMPIONS: Scott McCarron shot a 9-under 63 in hot conditions Saturday at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc, Mich., for a share of The Ally Challenge lead with Tom Lehman and Jeff Maggert.
Coming off a successful title defense two weeks ago in Calgary, Alberta, played an early three-hole stretch in 4 under — making an eagle on the par-4 12th. He had six birdies and a bogey on his second nine, birdieing the last three and four of the final five.
“I made a lot of putts. I drove the ball well, which you’ve got to do here,” McCarron said. “You’ve got to put the ball in play first and then you’ve got to make a lot of putts, and today I was able to make a bunch of putts.”
Lehman shot his second straight 67, and Maggert had a 68 to match McCarron at 10-under 135. The 49-year-old Lehman won in Iowa in June for his 11th senior title.
The 53-year-old McCarron has seven PGA Tour Champions victories, also winning in Wisconsin in June. He won three times on the PGA Tour.
Mark O’Meara had a 64 to join Tom Byrum (66), Paul Broadhurst (68) and Esteban Toledo (69) at 9 under. First-round leader Brandt Jobe had a 71 to drop into a tie for eighth with David McKenzie (69) at 8 under.
Vijay Singh, a three-time winner at Warwick Hills in the PGA Tour’s defunct Buick Open, was 7 under along with two-time Warwick champion Kenny Perry (67), Bernhard Langer (67), David Toms (70) and Joey Sindelar (67). Fred Couples, the 1994 Buick Open winner, was 2 under after a 73.