Pressel, Ko Charge To NWA Championship Lead

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ROGERS (KFSM) – Morgan Pressel scorched the back-nine at Pinnacle Country Club with a 30 and looked like she would be all alone atop the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship leaderboard heading into Sunday’s final round.

The world’s No. 1 golfer had other idea.

Lydia Ko made birdies at No. 11, 12, 13, 14 and 17 then followed with an eagle on the closing hole to card a remarkable 28 on the back-nine and tied the course record with a 9-under 63 to tie Pressel at 14-under for the tournament.

“I feel like this is a course where it fits all the players,” Ko said. “You can see by the leaderboard, it is not only for somebody that hits it ultimately straight. I think it fits every player. I played well here the last few years, and I had, especially the last few years I’ve had really solid Sundays. That kind of got me into the top 10 two years ago and it got me around to contend. But I love it here, and I really like the golf course, and, you know, to me I love a par 5 finishing hole. It can make it really exciting.”

Pressel hasn’t won on the LPGA Tour since 2008 but she said her trip to Rogers is always one she looks forward to.

“It’s one of my favorite events on the Tour, if not my certain favorite,” Pressel said. “It’s just — I love being here, I love the crowd support that I get. I’ve made so many incredible
friends here over the years and I had a great gallery out there that came to watch today. It’s a lot of fun. I love playing on this golf course, and I just — I enjoy being here.”

Jing Yan and Candie Kung are tied for third at 12-under while Haeju Kang charged up the leaderboard with a round of 63, that included a tournament record 10 birdies in her round.

Former Arkansas Razorback Stacy Lewis had a front row seat for Ko’s run as she was playing in the same group but did not have the same hot putter as she was 1-under on her round and sits nine strokes off the pace.

“I didn’t play very well today,” Lewis said. “The scores are extremely low, and, you know, 1 under is not quite going to cut it, but I battled there on the back nine. I just wanted to play tomorrow. When I made the turn, I battled pretty good there on the back nine and I got a chance tomorrow to play and see what happens.”

Four other players representing Arkansas were in the field but only Gaby Lopez (-3) will be around for Sunday’s final round as Maria Fassi (E), Regina Plasencia (+1) and Alana Uriell (+3)  all missed the cut. The cut line was at 3-under and Lopez made eagle on No. 18 to make the final round.