Hataoka gets 2nd ace, shares 1st with Lee in Arkansas event

Golf

ROGERS, Ark. (AP)Japan’s Nasa Hataoka made a hole-in-one for the second straight day and shot a 6-under 65 Saturday to move into a tie with Australia’s Minjee Lee after two rounds of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

The 22-year-old Hataoka, whose first of four LPGA Tour victories came at this event in 2018, used a 5-iron to ace the 180-yard, par-3 sixth hole at Pinnacle Country Club.

Lee, who won the Evian Championship in July, fired an 8-under 63 in the second round and moved into a tie with Hataoka at 12 under.

Hataoka aced the 135-yard 11th hole in Friday’s first round. She is the fifth player in LPGA Tour history to record multiple aces in the same event. The two aces will result in donations of $20,000 each to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

”It’s obviously something that’s not able to be done easily, so I really, really feel proud of it,” said Hataoka, who made five birdies with one bogey.

Hataoka stared in disbelief as her second ace disappeared into the cup.

”When I hit the ball, it felt really good,” she said. ”It went the way it was supposed to go. Though I never suspect it would be a hole-in-one; it was amazing. I’m happy that I got the hole-in-ones, but I really, really happy to be able to help the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.”

Lee birdied seven of the first 10 holes in racing up the leaderboard.

”The golf course is very scorable,” Lee said. ”It’s maybe a little softer than in other years we’ve played it. I was seeing really good lines and stroking it nice and it was good to see it go in.”

First round co-leader Eun-Hee Ji is alone in third place at 11 under after a second round 68. Jeongeun Lee6 matched the tournament’s low round with a 63, moving into a tie for fourth with Ariya Jutanugarn at 10 under.

Jennifer Kupcho (66), Pajaree Anannarukarn (68) and Sarah Burnham (69) were tied for sixth, three strokes back. Ten other players are four shots back at 8 under.

Lee6 had eight birdies and no bogeys. It is her first time playing in Arkansas, and she said she liked both the course and the local food.

”I like this course because the condition is good and a lot of good foods,” Lee6 said.

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