Ko pragmatic despite record-equalling 62 in Arkansas

LOS ANGELES • New Zealand's world No. 1 Lydia Ko fired a record-equalling second-round 62 on Saturday to seize a share of the lead with Morgan Pressel at the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.

Ko's nine-under effort equalled the tournament scoring record and put her in a tie with America's Pressel on 14-under 128.

Pressel posted her low round of the year with a bogey-free eight-under 63 on the Friday at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas.

The two had a two-stroke lead in the 54-hole event over China's Yan Jing, and Canadian Alena Sharp, who carded 65s, and Chinese Taipei's Candie Kung, who signed for a 66.

Ko is in search of her third LPGA win of the season, after victories in the Kia Classic and ANA Inspiration in consecutive weeks.

She has contended before in Arkansas, never finishing outside the top six in three starts.

"Yes, but you can see by the scores, there are some low numbers out there, so typically you could be five, six shots behind and you may shoot a magical number and be right up there in contention, like I've experienced in the past, so I don't think you can take anyone out of it," said Ko, who had nine birdies and an eagle at the par-five 18th.

"It's a field with a lot of big names, so even though I'm currently leading and tied with Morgan, you just can't take anyone out of it within that five, four-shot lead range. So I just have to focus on my game."

Pressel, who notched the most recent of her two LPGA Tour victories in 2008, said she is trying to end the drought.

"Certainly winning is the goal, and what I'd like to do tomorrow, you know, step by step," she said.

"You have to start with a good drive on the first hole. If I play anywhere near like I did today, I think that I can get it done."

Three off the pace in a tie for fifth are South Korea's Kang Hae Ji (63), Italy's Giulia Molinaro (65) and Germany's Sandra Gal (66).

World No. 2 Brooke Henderson of Canada missed her first cut as a professional and the first of 2016 after rounds of 69 and 73 put her at even par through two rounds, with the cut coming at three-under.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Ko pragmatic despite record-equalling 62 in Arkansas'. Print Edition | Subscribe