American Amy Olson shot a second successive 65 to take a two shot lead over Kim Sei-young with a round to play in the final major of the season, the Evian on Saturday.
Olson stood on 14 under par 199 with South Korea’s Kim on 12 under and Mo Martin, the 2014 women’s British Open champion, in outright third place on ten under after the third round.
Olson, 26, has never won as a professional. But she did play in the final group on the last day of this season’s opening major, the ANA Championship, and she reckons she has served her apprenticeship.
An added incentive in France this week is that her older brother, Nathan, is her caddie.
"We have so many memories playing golf together growing up,” she said. “It is very special having him on the bag."
Olson, who eventually finished tied ninth at the Inspiration, added: "I love the challenge of major championships and I have learned that you need to be patient and put adversity behind you.
"The pressure forces you to play well.
“I felt a little nervous on the first tee today, but I made birdie at the opening hole and then just had so much fun.”
A bogey-free round was highlighted by an eagle at the long ninth, where she holed a 20-foot putt.
Kim also shot a faultless round, seven birdies helping her to a terrific 64. She has won seven times on the LPGA Tour and was fourth last year and sixth in 2016 at Evian.
“My big goal is to win a major,” said the 25-year-old. “I have won many times, but the major is missing. But who knows what will happen tomorrow?”
Martin, from California, had a 69 to raise her hopes of a second major, but there are a number of high profile players waiting to pounce.
Park Inbee, the seven-time major winner and former world No.1, shot 67 to move into a tie for fourth place on nine under, and she was on the same mark as Georgia Hall, the English player who won last month’s women’s British Open.
The best round of the day - and the Championship - came from American Ryann O’Toole. She shot 63 to move into the top ten on eight under par.
Maria Torres, the Puerto Rican who led after both the first and second rounds slipped back with a 72 - a round marred by bogeys at the 17th and 18th. She finished on seven under.
But it is Olson who goes into the final 18 holes in pole position. “I know I’ll be nervous, but that’s a good thing,” she said.
“I won’t be watching the leaderboard, just trying to hit the best shot every time. I hope I can bring my top game.”