Tseng, Yang lead by one in Arkansas

Defending champion Yani Tseng and Amy Yang share the lead after round two of the NW Arkansas Championship.

Defending champion Yani Tseng shot a four-under-par 67 at the NW Arkansas Championship on Friday to lead alongside Korean Amy Yang.

Tseng, the World No 1 from Taiwan, and Yang, who shot a superb second-round 64 at Pinnacle Country Club, lie on nine under par for the tournament and lead by one shot over American Taylor Leon.

Four players lie on seven under, two off the lead – American Cristie Kerr (66), Koreans Inbee Park (65) and Jin Young Pak (68) and local favourite and joint first-round leader Stacy Lewis (69).

Tseng, the World No 1 and already a five-time winner around the world this year – including two major wins at the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open – had six birdies and two bogeys in her second round and came within a whisker of a hole-in-one at the 15th hole, eventually having to settle for a two-foot tap in for birdie.

“I worked on my tempo on the back nine,” Tseng said after her round. “I got a little too fast with my tempo, but I just keep to myself, keep focused, and actually back nine I got really lucky. I had a good bounce on No. 8, good bounce on No. 4 or 5, and I have a great up and down on par 3, so those three shots were important.”

With one round left to play, Tseng will take some stopping on Saturday, though she admits to feeling a bit of pressure.

“I think it’s hard to not have pressure because, I mean, for sure I’ve got pressure tomorrow, defending champion and in the lead,” she said after her round.

“The kind of thing’s going to be a little pressure, but I just want to enjoy that pressure. I know tomorrow, first couple holes going to be nervous. If I were not nervous, that would be a little weird, so I mean, I care.”

Lewis produced a solid enough 69, but it was not enough to see her keep the lead on the course she lived only 20 minutes away from back when she was a four-time All-American Amateur star.

“I was kind of frustrated,” Lewis said. “I left a lot of putts out there. My speed was just a little off and my lines were a little off, but still it was a good enough round that it kept me in it for tomorrow.”

Yang is chasing her first win on the LPGA Tour, and her 64 has given her a great chance of achieving it.

She made five birdies, one bogey and an eagle at the par-five seventh.

“Everything was good today,” Yang said. “I was hitting the ball solid and hitting the putts solid. You know, from tee to green, I was playing good. I’m really happy about my game.”

Further down the field, Michelle Wie failed to make the cut with rounds of 78 and 72.