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Ko storms into Arkansas lead

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/06/2016

World No.1 Lydia Ko has stormed into a share of the lead at the NW Arkansas Championship in Rogers, Arkansas, with a record-equalling nine-under par second round 62.

The 19-year-old New Zealander, who shot an opening five-under 66, was solid through the front nine with birdies at the fifth and sixth leaving her two-under at the turn.

But after parring the 10th, she roared into life with four consecutive birdies, catching her breath with two more pars before finishing birdie-eagle.

Ko's stunning round matched that of overnight leader Ayako Uehara of Japan, and equalled the tournament's 18-hole record set in 2008 by Jane Park and Angela Park.

Uehara plunged down the leaderboard with a second-round 74, and now sits in a share of 24th.

Ko shares the lead with American Morgan Pressel, who backed up her opening 65 with a faultless eight-under 63.

Taiwanese golfer Candie Kung and China's Jing Yan are two shots back in a tie for third, with four others another stroke back in a share of fifth place.

Ko says she's enjoying revisiting the Pinnacle Country Club, and had felt confident going into the three-round tournament.

"I've played a lot here in the past few years, and I got the opportunity to play here as an amateur, so there's a lot of good memories."

Ko's putter ran hot as she racked up her record-equalling second round, and she said she'd be looking to maintain that accuracy on Monday (NZT).

"At the end of the day the winner is definitely going to be holing a lot of good putts."

Ko said the low numbers from the tournament to date showed that someone could "shoot a magical number" and come back from five or six shots down to be right in contention.

"I don't think you can take anyone out of it - 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.

"I'm just going to try and focus on what I'm going to do and give myself good opportunities."

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