Lydia Ko fires a 63, but 19-year-old Yuka Saso grabs lead after 36 holes at Lotte Championship in Hawaii

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Todd Kelly
·2 min read
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It was just 11 days ago that Lydia Ko posted the lowest final round score in LPGA major championship history, a 10-under 62, at the ANA Inspiration.

On Thursday, in her second round since that amazing day at Mission Hills Country Club, Ko went low again, firing a 63 at the Lotte Championship.

But a few hours later, Yuka Saso stole the show at Kapolei Golf Club in Hawaii.

The 19-year-old, in the field on a sponsor invitation, birdied seven of her first 10 holes to tie Ko for the lead at 14 under.

Saso later birdied the 16th, sinking a long putt for a 2 to take the outright lead.

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Then Saso made another birdie on 17 to go up by two shots at 16 under. She parred the 18th to shoot her second straight 64.

Saso won the 2019 Girls Junior PGA Championship a little more than two years ago. She turned pro four months after that and is currently a member of the Japan LPGA Tour, where she won twice last year. This season, she is third on the money list. She is seeking her first LPGA win.

LOTTE Championship: Leaderboard

It’s been three years Ko has won. So far this week, she has posted 15 birdies and just one bogey in two days.

Lydia Ko
Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko plays a tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship at Kapolei Golf Club on April 15, 2021 in Kapolei, Hawaii. (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Luna Sobron Galmes posted a second-round 64 and is tied for third with Nelly Korda and So Yeon Ryu at 11 under.

Amateur Rose Zhang, who lost in a playoff on the Symetra Tour in Arizona three weeks ago, held the lead early in the second round but settled back into a tie for 10th after a 68 on Thursday.

Amy Yang made some noise on the par-3 12th hole by draining a hole-in-one, which got her to 8 under for the tournament. It’s the third ace on the LPGA in 2021.

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The LPGA has returned to Hawaii for the first time since 2019. The Lotte Championship, once held at Ko Olina Golf Club, has moved to Kapolei Golf Club. This is the first time the tour has played at Kapolei since the 2001 Cup of Noodles Hawaiian Open.

The tournament has a Wednesday-to-Saturday competition schedule.