Juli Inkster posted a 69 to take the lead into the final round of the Evian Masters. Inkster (-6) leads Jeong Jang by two strokes. Sophie Gustafson, Ji-Yai Shin and Diana D’Alessio are tied for third, three shots behind with Annika Sorenstam, Natalie Gulbis and Il Mi Chung four back.
With windy conditions creating the worst scoring day of the tournament so far (and that I can ever remember for Evian), Inkster and Angela Stanford were the only players to break 70 (both with 69), and only seven rounds total were under par. Jang carded a 72 and is one shot closer to the lead than she was entering Saturday’s play. Shin’s 70 moved her from T24 to T3, and Chung’s 70 bumped her from T28 to T6. Despite a quadruple-bogey at the par-4 12th and posting a 76, D’Alessio is still a factor only three behind. Second-round co-leader Jin Joo Hong isn’t so lucky – her 80 pushed her all the way back to +1 T19.
My pre-tourney pick Laura Davies is tied for ninth at -1 and CYA choice Lorena Ochoa is T19 at +1. Laura could make a Sunday run but Lorena is probably too far back, even for her talents to overcome. Hopefully my other CYA pick (JJ) can out-duel Inkster for her first win of 2007.
I really shouldn’t root against Juli, though. She’s had a tough year, though I can’t say I didn’t expect that to happen. I would be nice to see her get one more trophy before she rides off into the sunset – or whatever veteran golfers do when they retire. If she does, she’ll become the oldest tournament winner in LPGA history.