Rogers (United States) (AFP) – Lee Min-jee and Nasa Hataoka fired identical scores for the second straight day to share the lead at the LPGA Tour’s NW Arkansas Championship on Saturday.
Australia’s Lee and Hataoka of Japan each shot 65 on Saturday to go with their 64s in Friday’s opening round. Both golfers have just one bogey so far to share the 36-hole lead at 13-under 129.
“I’ve been hitting it and putting it pretty well coming into this event,” said Lee. “I think I have pretty good confidence going into tomorrow as well.”
They are two shots in front of third place Lexi Thompson (64) in the 54-hole event which wraps up Sunday afternoon.
Lee made seven birdies and one bogey on Saturday, while Hataoka was bogey-free,
Lee, 22, will aim for her second win of the season while the 19-year-old Hataoka is looking for her first career title.
Lee’s confidence is beaming with six top 10s this year.
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier of France are tied for fourth at 10-under.
Ariya, who shot her second straight 66, is in position to possibly take over the No. 1 world ranking with a strong finish on Sunday.
If Ariya wins and Park In-bee, the current No. 1, finishes fourth or worse, Ariya will take over the top spot. If Ariya finishes second and Park finishes 19th or worse she would also go to number one.
Thompson has a shot at No. 1 but she would need to win and have Park finish 21st or worse to achieve it.
Boutier is just beginning to step up her game after missing the cut in her first four tournaments.
She has made five of the last six cuts and heads into the final round in a great position.
“I’m just getting used to travelling and being on Tour,” said Boutier. “I feel like I’ve been playing new courses all year, so it has been a learning process.
“I just really like the course this week, I feel like it’s fitting my game very well, so it’s been going well. Hopefully, tomorrow will be on the same line.”