Choi shoots 63 to take Arkansas lead

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY KURT VOIGT

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.

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