The 29-year-old is in prime position to erase the memories of a missed one-foot putt for victory at the 2012 ANA Inspiration, one of two runner-up finishes in the Grand Slam events for the six time LPGA winner.
Kim already has two LPGA victories on her resume in 2017 and was sublime on day three as she posted six birdies with no dropped shots to reach 17-under par at the Kingsbarns layout.
England’s Georgia Hall and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn are her nearest challengers at 11-under, Inbee Park and impressive young American Ally McDonald a further stroke back sharing fourth.
Kim began the day with a two shot lead but quickly extended her advantage with four front nine birdies then added two more on the inward half.
After the round she credited her good 2017 form with an improvement in attitude, mostly as a result of the trauma of that missed tap in five years ago.
Having long been frustrated with the constant questions from the media about the miss, Kim eventually began working with mental game gurus Vision 54 and took ownership of what happened.
“I just feel like I've done a lot of good things on and off the golf course and I think it's really helping me out,” Kim said. “It's showing on the golf course.”
“Everybody makes mistakes, but I think it was nobody else's problem. It was my problem. I really kind of criticized myself a lot, and it's not very healthy.
“It's been quite tough, but I started to work on myself, not only on the golf course, but off the golf course.
“Just be nice to myself and able to have some kind of compassion and gentleness with myself. I think it's really helping me to play better I think on the golf course.”
2015 winner Inbee Park was out in perfect early conditions and produced the round of the day, her 8-under 64 matching Michelle Wie’s course record from day one and setting the clubhouse target before Kim teed off.
Park required just 22 putts to negotiate the course Saturday and said faster greens were the key.
“The greens were much quicker today, which was a big help for me because the last couple of days, I couldn't get balls to the hole and it was playing very, very slow,” she said.
“So hopefully they keep that green speed. It's a little bit easier to putt.”
Kim’s final round playing partner, Georgia Hall, was disappointed with her finish after a fast start had her applying early pressure Saturday.
She birdies the first and after a bogey at the third made a magnificent eagle after driving the green at the short par-4 5th.
She went to the turn 2-under and after reeling of three straight birdies from the 13th narrowed the gap to one before disaster struck with a bogey at 16 followed by a four putt double at the 17th.
“I haven't made many mistakes the past couple days, but today, I made a couple towards the end,” Hall said after her round.
“I played really good golf. Hit some really great shots in there. Got a good eagle. I just had a lapse of concentration on 17, but that's the way it is.”
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