Golf: World No. 2 Park Sung-hyun and Carlota Ciganda share LPGA Arkansas two-shot lead

Park Sung-hyun (left) and Carlota Ciganda finished jointly on top of the leaderboard of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship at the end of June 29, 2019. PHOTOS: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Park Sung-hyun of South Korea waiting to play a shot on the 18th hole in the second round of the NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club on June 29, 2019 in Rogers, Arkansas. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Women's world No. 2 golfer Park Sung-hyun shook off a late bogey to close with back-to-back birdies on Saturday (June 29) 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 63 at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas, for her share of the lead on 13-under 129.

"I only have one win this season, but overall I think I have been doing a good job," she 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 (69) and world No. 1 Ko Jin-young (66).

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.

Ciganda added birdies at the fifth and seventh to take the solo lead at 12 under but she would not 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 No. 16, but responded with two birdies to finish.

"I wasn't really worried when I made that bogey," the 25-year-old 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 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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