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Hataoka turns in a 2nd ace, shares 1st

by The Associated Press | September 26, 2021 at 3:07 a.m.
Nasa Hataoka, of Japan, watches her drive off the 9th tee during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

ROGERS -- Japan's Nasa Hataoka made a hole-in-one for the second consecutive 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.

"It's maybe a little softer than in other years we've played it," Lee said of the course. "I was seeing really good lines and stroking it nice and it was good to see it go in."

Former University of Arkansas golfers Maria Fassi and Stacy Lewis are tied for 19th at 7-under 135. Fassi started the day tied for 29 and shot a 4-under 67. Lewis turned in a 3-under 68. Brooke Matthews (Rogers), a senior for the Razorbacks, was good for a 1-under 70 on Saturday and is at 5-under 137 for the tournament. Alana Uriell (Razorbacks) is at 2-under 140 after a 1-under 70 on Saturday. Gaby Lopez is at 1-under for the tournament after an even-par round on Saturday.

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.

Stacy Lewis waves to fans after sinking her putt on the 9th green during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Stacy Lewis waves to fans after sinking her putt on the 9th green during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Nasa Hataoka, of Japan, sinks her putt on the 8th green during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Nasa Hataoka, of Japan, sinks her putt on the 8th green during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Bronte Law, of England, watches her drive on the 9th tee during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Bronte Law, of England, watches her drive on the 9th tee during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Eun-Hee Ji, of South Korea, hits onto the 18th green during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Eun-Hee Ji, of South Korea, hits onto the 18th green during the second round of the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

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