Choi shoots 63 to take Arkansas lead
Na Ye Choi matched her LPGA Tour career low with an 8-under 63 on Saturday to surge to the top of the leaderboard at 13 under in the NW Arkansas Championship.
Choi, the South Korean player who won the season- opening Coates Golf Championship for her eighth LPGA Tour title, made a 45-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole for a back-nine 29.
She finished her
rain-delayed first round with a 66 early Saturday morning, and took the lead with her final putt of the second round.
Mi Jung Hur and Anna Nordqvist were tied for second at 11 under. Hur completed a first-round 63 and shot a 68 in the second. Nordqvist birdied the final hole for a second-round 66. The Swede won the ShopRite LPGA Classic last month in New Jersey.
Defending champion and local favorite Stacy Lewis topped the group at 9 under. She had a second-round 65.
Lewis also was four shots off the lead entering the final round last year when she sank a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole to earn her 11th career victory.
The former University of Arkansas standout made a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 17 on Saturday, and she capped her round with another birdie on the par-5 18th — much to the delight of the partisan gallery following her every shot at Pinnacle Country Club.
Playing a group behind Lewis, Choi also ended her day with one of her most meaningful shots of the day. After reaching the 525-yard 18th with a 3-wood, she made the lengthy eagle putt to cap her 63 and propel her to the overall lead.
She was a shot off the course record of 62, set in 2008 by Angela Park and Jane Park. Also, Choi’s two-round total of 13 under was one shot off the 36-hole record set by Veronica Felibert in 2012.
Top-ranked Inbee Park missed her first cut in more than a year, shooting a 1-over 72 to finish 1 under overall. Michelle Wie also missed the cut after finishing 1 under.