Evian Championship: Moriya Jutanugarn hopes to emulate sister
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 18/09/17 1:16am
Moriya Jutanugarn is on course to join her sister, Ariya, as a major champion after an impressive second-round 68 earned her the outright lead at the Evian Championship.
Jutanugarn's three-under round gave her a one-shot lead over Japan's Ayako Uehara in the event reduced to 54-holes due to Thursday's adverse weather, while 2015 champion Lydia Ko is just three behind as she chases her first win of a disappointing year.
English teenager Georgia Hall is a further stroke adrift after a battling 69, but her Solheim Cup team-mate Anna Nordqvist slipped to four under after a disappointing one-over 72.
Ariya Jutanugarn became the first Thai golfer to win a major at last year's Women's British Open, and victory for her older sibling on Sunday would make them the first sisters to be major champions since the formation of the LPGA Tour in 1950.
Moriya, who was Rookie of the Year in 2013 but has yet to win on the LPGA Tour, started her second round at the 10th and offset a birdie at 11 with a scrappy bogey-six at the long 13th, but she got back on track with gains at 15 and 17 in a back-nine 34.
The 23-year-old blotted her card again at the second, but she responded with further birdies and the third and sixth although she was unable to take advantage of the remaining two par-fives as she set the early clubhouse target at nine under par.
Uehara ended the day as Jutanugarn's closest challenger after a 66 which included four birdies in five holes from the 13th and, after her second bogey of the back nine at 18, she hit back with gains at the second, third and sixth holes to vault into outright second.
Katherine Kirk is one further back after the Australian staged a gallant recovery from being two over after eight holes, following a birdie at nine with gains at 13, 16 and 17 to return a creditable 69.
Ko's chances of ending her barren run this season took a hit when she bogeyed the first, but the former world No 1 replied with three straight birdies from the third and added another at the eighth.
But the young New Zealander then missed a series of further chances to get closer to the leader as she reeled off 10 consecutive pars to match her opening 68, and she shares fourth with South Korean pair In Kyung Kim and Sung Hyun Park.
Hall, who enjoyed a sparkling Solheim Cup debut last month, continued her encouraging form on the big stage as two late birdies at 16 and 17 lifted her to five under alongside Shanshan Feng and American duo Jennifer Song and Angela Stanford.
But Mel Reid mixed four bogeys with two birdies in a 74 which saw her slide to one over, while Charley Hull will also be playing for pride in the final round after failing to build on a bright start to her 69.
Hull birdied four of the first seven holes to get back to level par for the tournament, but she could not make any further progress and bogeyed 10 and 17 to end the day 11 shots behind the leader.