Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka lead in Arkansas; Yuka Saso tied for 9th | Inquirer Sports

Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka lead in Arkansas; Yuka Saso tied for 9th

/ 03:24 PM September 26, 2021

Nasa Hataoka LPGA Arkansas

Nasa Hataoka. Photo from LPGA Twitter

Australia’s Minjee Lee fired a 63 — tied for the best round of the day Saturday — to join Japan’s Nasa Hataoka atop the leaderboard at 12-under par at the Northwest Arkansas Championship.

Neither player was part of the three-way tie for the lead after 18 holes at Pinnacle Country Club. Hataoka’s round was highlighted by another hole-in-one.

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The pair hold a one-shot lead over South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji and a two-shot lead over South Korean Jeongeun Lee6 and Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand heading into Sunday’s final round.

Three players are tied for sixth at 9 under, three shots back.

Lee carded eight birdies on her way to a bogey-free round. Her 63 was matched by only Lee6.

“Some of the holes I really hit it close to make birdie, and some of the holes I had a couple 15-, 20-footers, so good length birdie putts,” Lee said. “I just kind of kept riding my momentum until the 10th hole, and then string of pars and a birdie to finish. It was a pretty solid day.”

Hataoka shot a second consecutive 65, highlighted by an ace for the second consecutive day. Hataoka aced the par-3 sixth on Saturday after recording one on the 11th hole in Friday’s first round.

“It’s obviously something that’s not able to be done so easily, so I really, really feel proud of it,” Hataoka said of her aces on back-to-back days.

Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso fired 65 a day after shooting 69 for a share of ninth place at 8-under par with nine other players including Australia’s Katherine Kirk and South Korea’s A Lim Kim.

Kirk, Kim and Ji, who followed her 63 on Friday with a 68 on Saturday, were tied atop the leaderboard after the first round. But Kirk and Kim shot matching 71s to fall in the standings.

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TAGS: Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Yuka Saso

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