Weather Hampers Evian Masters

 
Michelle Wie of USA thanks the crowd having made her birdie putt on the 5th green during the final day of the 4th Evian Masters Tournament in Evian, Haute-Savoie, France. Credit: Tristan Jones/LET
Ashleigh Simon struggled on day three of the Evian Masters at Evian-les-Bains in France, which saw her slip down the LPGA and LET co-sanctioned event leaderboard with three bogeys in each nine, setoff by a single birdie in each leg.
 

On day one, Simon played some of her best golf, carding a solid two-under par 70, followed by a reasonable even-par 72 on Friday to stay in touch of the leaders on a day when the field struggled.
 
But on Saturday Simon’s game fell away, and lagged eight shots behind day three overnight leader July Inkster, who carded a three-under-par 69 to grab a two-stroke lead on six-under-par entering Sunday’s final round.
 
A combination of increased wind and drier greens saw a sharp change at the top of the leader board after the third round of the 14th Evian Masters at the Evian Royal Resort, France.
 
Inkster’s five birdies included one on the 18th hole to open up a greater margin over South Korea’s Jeong Jang, the 2005 Women’s British Open champion.
 
Inkster was one of only seven players from the 72-player field to break par, and admitted that a slight change in weather conditions may have explained the higher scores on the third day’s play.
 
“We never had the wind or rough up like it is this year,” said Inkster, the 2003 Evian Masters Champion, who carded a final round 65 to win by six strokes on the same golf course four years ago. Her winning total of 267 (-21) tied the Ladies European Tour’s record for the lowest winning aggregate for 72-holes.
 
“It was tough out there, it (the wind) was swirling. It is definitely playing tough, and then with the greens firming up, the downhill holes are not playing easy,” added Inkster, a 32-time tournament champion, with 31 wins on the LPGA Tour.
 
Jang, who carded a level-par 72, will partner the seven-time Major Champion in the final round and said: “It was actually really tough out there and windy. The greens were more bumpy than yesterday.”
 
Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson is one of three players tied on three-under-par after carding 72 for the second day running. She sits alongside South Korea’s Ji-Yai Shin and overnight co-leader Diana D’Alessio of the United States.
 
“I can’t tell you the best parts (of my game) but I can tell you the worst,” said Gustafson: “It was my putting.” She added: “The scores aren’t that good because the wind made it difficult out there.
 
It’s not like you have a big margin of error out there so that’s why the wind makes the scores so much tougher.” But Gustafson wasn’t the only player to have problems with her putting.
 
Second-day co-leader D’Alessio began the day at seven-under but took a quadruple bogey on the 12th hole after finding herself in difficult greenside rough and then four-putting.
 
“I was playing solid for the first 11 holes,” said the 32-year-old American, who carded a 76 to move to two-under-par. I didn’t make a very good second shot (on the 12th) and then it was just the comedy of errors into the hole.”
 
Shin carded a two-under 70, meanwhile, two-time Evian Masters champion Annika Sorenstam of Sweden lies in joint sixth place after a 74 to end the day four strokes back in a share of sixth position at two-under.
 
She said: “Today was probably my best ball striking it’s just I had a little difficulty on the greens. I’m kind of disappointed because I really felt like I played well but it’s always nice to finish strong and hopefully tomorrow I can hit it like this and make some of the putts.
 
“I’ve got to go low tomorrow. Like I said, I feel very good about the way I’m hitting it. I think I’m putting well too it’s just it didn’t turn out today. I’m climbing slowly up the leader board. It’s been great to come back and at least look at the leaders. It’s been a while so I’m excited about that.”
 
England’s Laura Davies carded six bogeys and four birdies for a 74 and finished the day at one-under-par. Elsewhere, Jin Joo Hong – the joint overnight co-leader with D’Alessio – dropped to one-over-par after a nightmare round of 80.
 
American teenager Michelle Wie, who began the day at level par, took a bogey on the third hole and then doubled each of the fourth, sixth and seventh holes en route to an 84 as she slipped to 12-over-par and 69th position for the tournament. 
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