(Reuters) – World number one Lydia Ko finished birdie-eagle for a tournament-record tying nine-under-par 62 to charge into a share of the second-round lead with Morgan Pressel at the Arkansas Championship on Saturday.
Former major winner Pressel held the clubhouse lead after a bogey-free 63 for a 14-under total of 128 in the 54-hole event at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers before being caught late in the day by the fast-finishing Ko.
Even though Ko reeled off four consecutive birdies from the par-three 11th, the New Zealand teenager was still three shots off the pace with two holes to play.
But Ko then birdied 17 and sank a 15-foot eagle putt at the par-five last to cap a sizzling back nine of 28 and draw level with Pressel.
“I’ve played well here the past few years and had the opportunity to play here as an amateur,” Ko told Golf Channel.
The 19-year-old has finished no worse than sixth in her three prior starts at this event, including a tie for second in 2014.
“At the end of the day, the winner here is going to be the one holing some putts,” said Ko, a double champion on the LPGA Tour this season who is seeking her 13th career title. “I just want to give myself a lot of opportunities around here.”
Ko lost in a playoff to Canadian Brooke Henderson at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship two weeks ago, while the 28-year-old Pressel is seeking her first LPGA victory since October 2008.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a good night’s sleep and come out and do my thing tomorrow,” said Pressel, who finished birdie-birdie.
The co-leaders have a two-shot advantage over Canadian Alena Sharp (65), China’s Jing Yan (65) and Candie Kung (66) of Taiwan heading into Sunday’s final round.
(Reporting by Tim Wharnsby in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)