World number two Park Sung-hyun shook off a late bogey to close with back-to-back birdies Saturday and join Spain’s Carlota Ciganda atop the leaderboard of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.
South Korea’s Park, who captured her sixth LPGA title at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore in March and finished runner-up to Hannah Greene at the Women’s PGA Championship last week, fired an eight-under par 63 at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas, for her share of the lead on 13-under par 129.
“I only have one win this season, but overall I think I have been doing a good job,” Park said. “Last week I did pretty well, too. Tomorrow, I hope to focus on each shot.”
Ciganda fired a 66 and the leading duo had a two-stroke lead over a group of seven players that included overnight leader Park In-bee and world number one Ko Jin-young.
Ciganda, who started the day one off the lead, blasted out of the gate with an eagle at the par-four first, where she holed out from 60 yards out.
GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / SAM GREENWOOD Spain’s Carlota Ciganda of Spain plays a shot on the 14th hole on the way to a share of the 36-hole lead in the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship
Ciganda added birdies at the fifth and seventh to take the solo lead at 12-under but she wouldn’t find another birdie until the par-five 18th which was enough to send her into the final round of the 54-hole tournament tied for the lead.
“There’s still lots of golf to play tomorrow and it can go very low here,” said Ciganda, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour. “I think it’s nice to be up there, but I think there are some great players there.”
Park Sung-hyun was climbing steadily, with four birdies on the front nine and two more at the 11th and 12th to reach 12-under.
She dropped out of the lead with a bogey at 16, but responded with two birdies to finish.
“I wasn’t really worried when I made that bogey,” Park said. “I like the 17th and 18th holes, and I made a birdie on the last hole yesterday, too, so I knew that I won’t have to worry after that bogey.”
Park In-bee, coming off an impressive nine-under first round of 62, moved as low as 11-under with two birdies in her first seven holes. But the seven-time major champion faded with back-to-back bogeys at 10 and 11.
She was joined on 131 by fellow South Koreans Ko (66) and Kim Hyo-joo (64), along with Americans Danielle Kang (63) and Brittany Altomare (65), Ecuador’s Daniela Darquea (65) and Sweden’s Linnea Strom (65).
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