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Meadow slips further back while Maguire squeezes inside cut in Arkansas

Anna Nordqvist has stretched her lead to three strokes.

Stephanie Meadow [file photo].
Stephanie Meadow [file photo].
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

STEPHANIE MEADOW HAS slipped to 11 shots behind the leader after the second round of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.

After an impressive opening round that left her one shot off the lead, Meadow carded a 72 on the second day which included three bogeys and two birdies on the 16th and 18th holes.

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire made it inside the cut on two-under par. She hit a double-bogey on the 13th but her round was saved by four birdies.

Anna Nordqvist rolled in her ninth birdie at the final hole on Saturday to cap a nine-under par 62 and stretch her lead to three strokes.

The two-time major champion from Sweden, who shared the overnight lead with Americans Esther Lee and Jackie Stoelting, had a 36-hole total of 16-under par 126.

“I played really solid both today and yesterday,” said Nordqvist, who hit all 18 greens in regulation at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas.

“Got off to a great start,” added the Swede, who birdied five of her first six holes. “Had a lot of good opportunities. Made a few putts early and just kept going. Felt like I hit my irons really well.”

Nordqvist was three shots clear of South Korean Kim Sei-young, who fired an eagle and seven birdies in a seven-under 64.

Kim bounced back from a double-bogey at the eighth, her penultimate hole, with her final birdie of the day.

She had eagled the par-five 18th to make the turn six-under for the day, and goes into Sunday’s final round one stroke in front of compatriot Jenny Shin and Americans Nelly Korda and Austin Ernst.

Both Korda and Shin carded second-round 63s, Shin storming home with five birdies in the last seven holes. Ernst signed for a 65.
Korda matched her career-best thanks to an eagle on the final hole. She said it would take a low score to lift the trophy in the 54-hole event.

“Going to take it as low as I can,” she said. “(I’m) just going to stick to my game plan, try to have fun out there, and try to shoot a low one.”

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Kim was mid-round when storms rolled through, leading to a hour-long delay.

“Greens were softer, but the wind is stronger than front nine, so it wasn’t easy,” she said of the shifting conditions.

Nordqvist was hoping to keep things rolling Sunday as she pursued her first LPGA title since the 2017 Evian Championship.

“It’s nice to see hard work pay off,” said Nordqvist, who said even that two-win 2017 season was difficult because of a bout with mononucleosis.

Swing changes “in the wrong directions” also set her back.

“Starting to feel like myself again,” Nordqvist said. “But it has been a little bit of bumpy road, especially when you know what you’re capable of.

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© AFP 2020

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