Kirk peeled off a five-under-par 66 to sit alongside Anna Nordqvist, one behind Moriya Jutanugarn and three from leader Sung Hyun Park, the luckiest player in the field.
One broadcaster described Ko's round as "the Lydia of old" as she showed the sort of form that took her to a runner-up finish last week in Indianapolis.
Sunrise Beach product Katherine Kirk is relishing a startling season on the US LPGA Tour, including an impressive display at a major championship.
Should she hold onto her position and win the tournament on Sunday, Jutanugarn would join her sister Ariya as a major victor - a feat that would see them become the first sisters to achieve that accomplishment.
Ariya, 21, won the women's British Open past year.
Several hours later, the LPGA made the decision to abandon day one and make it a 54-hole Championship.
Her stellar play comes during the final tournament of countrywomen Ai Miyazato's LPGA career.
Harry Redknapp departs Birmingham City
Birmingham have lost seven of their 10 games across all competitions this season, including each of their last six. Saturday's 3-1 home loss to Preston was the final straw and Redknapp finds himself out of work once again.
"No, because I was still happy", Feng said.
"But now I think I'll play a few more years. It was really solid, and hopefully it's good momentum going into tomorrow".
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. Park played in a stellar group with top-ranked So Yeon Ryu (75), her fellow South Korean, and No2 Lexi Thompson (70), of the US. "I'm trying to put myself in a good position, and when it's my time, probably it will turn out good".
At 35, Kirk's first win in seven years in Wisconsin in July has rekindled her appetite for the game.
The American, who finished the day at the Evian Resort Golf Club four shots behind Park in joint fifth, told GolfDigest.com: "It sucked because I was playing so well yesterday, and some people weren't playing so well yesterday that are playing well today, and there's nothing I can do about that". "Hey, you know what, I can win out here, and just keep believing and keep doing the right things, and you never know what happens".
Park had been six over through as many holes when wild weather at Evians Les Bains, France, forced players from the course a day earlier.
- 6 things being talked about after Michigan's victory over Air Force
- Major fire breaks out at RK Studio in Mumbai
- Dileep's wife Kavya Madhavan likely to move court for anticipatory bail
- Maryam sure 'the lion will roar' in NA-120
- Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise is Scarier Without Makeup
- Don't play for tons and that's why I cross it more: Kohli
- Bullet train foundation stone laid with eye to Gujarat polls: Congress
- Porsche crashes into crowd at Boise auto show injuring Eleven
- Oklahoma State's Rudolph shows National Football League form in rout of Pitt
- Liverpool frustrated by battling Burnley