Choi leads with Lewis lurking

A career-equalling low round of eight-under 63 helped Na Ye Choi to a two-shot lead at the NW Arkansas Championship.

It was a busy day for the players at the Pinnacle Country Club, with rain on Friday meaning that the majority of the field needed to finish their first rounds before heading out for another 18 holes.

It was Choi who dealt with the conditions best, following up her first round 66 with a quality second round showing that included seven birdies, an eagle and a lone bogey to move to 13-under. Choi’s 63 is just a shot shy of the course record.

The South Korean’s eagle at the par-five 18th was a particularly impressive feat, with Choi holing a 45-foot putt for her three after finding the green in two thanks to a great three wood.

Mi Jung Hur and Anna Nordqvist are next best in a tie for second on 11-under. Nordqvist was one of the last golfers out on the course, and she made the most of her late finish, birding four of the last five holes to surge up the leaderboard with a round of 66 that followed an opening 65.

Hur had held the overnight lead and completed a sparking first-round 63 before backing it up with a 68 that consisted of three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.

A further two shots back on nine-under are Stacy Lewis (65), Mika Miyazato (67), Amy Yang (68) and Brittany Lincicome (68).

Local favourite Lewis, who is also the defending champion, recovered from an early double-bogey at the third to post a round of seven-under, with four birdies in the last five holes putting her four off the lead – the same situation she found herself in heading into the final round of last year’s event.

World number one Inbee Park will not be back on Sunday after the South Korean missed the cut for the first time in more than a year. Park opened with a 69 before slumping to a one-over 72 in her second round to finish on one-under, a shot off the cut mark.