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Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

Round 3 - Second win of the year for Choi

June 28, 2015

Whenever the favorite club question comes up, Na Yeon Choi’s answer is always the same - the 8-iron. She proved why Sunday, jarring her approach from 145 yards from the 16th fairway for eagle to storm into the lead at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. It proved a lead she would never relinquish, winning by two shots for her second win of 2015 and ninth of her career.

“Yeah, I hit 3-wood and I hit 8-iron to the pin, was like 145. Then I hit controlled 8-iron,” Choi said. “I mean, when I holed the finish, I thought it's going to be good, but I didn't expect like it go in. I knew it was going to be good. That was a good shot and then I knew it's going to be good.”

Choi approached her tee shot in the middle of the 16th fairway with Stacy Lewis holding a one-shot lead and heading towards a short birdie putt at the 17th. It looked like Lewis’ to be had for the second straight year, but Choi flipped the script completely with her eagle while Lewis missed her putt to give Choi a one-shot lead.

She needed only one more swing to close the door, nearly jarring her shot at the par-3 17th before tapping it in for a two-shot lead and an easy walk up the 18th. That shot into the 17th also came with an 8-iron.

Choi’s total of 15-under 198 came on a day where she struggled with the flat stick en route with 33 putts. But when she needed it the most, she found it, playing the last three holes in 3-under-par with two consecutive twos on the scorecard for a 2-under 69 Sunday.

“I mean, today, especially my putting didn't really work and but still I tried to keep focus my shot and swing, and then I kept hitting well and then after 16 I, after I hit the second shot, I knew this is going to be good,” Choi said. “I felt really good, you know, feeling after the impact. So when I holed the finish, I thought it's going to be good, but I didn't expect like go in. So I was very happy after that shot, but like unfortunately I couldn't see the ball going in. I just heard a lot of screaming around the green.”

Mika Miyazato finished as the runner-up at 13-under-par after Lewis bogeyed the 18th. Azahara Munoz (66), Lewis (68) and Anna Nordqvist (70) each tied for third at 12-under-par.

First time caddie:
The wait for Shane Comer, Na Yeon Choi’s caddie for the week, to get his first win as a professional caddie lasted all of seven days.

Before this week, Comer was a professional golfer. Now, he’s a professional caddie. He moved to Korea with his wife who is from there and had tried to qualify for the Korean PGA Tour but didn’t hit the number needed. So when Na Yeon Choi’s manager, Greg Morrison, called and said they’d like for him to come over and caddie for the week, he jumped at the chance.

“He was really standing my side, that was good this week, you know,” Choi said. “You know, like this week I don’t have any my team this week, no manager, no family. So I was talking with my caddie almost every night and then I guarantee he walked the course at least three times and he walked the course a lot and study about course and asking me a lot of question.

He even looked like a seasoned vet after Choi made the winning putt, taking the flag off of the stick for the victor.

“I was really surprised after that winning putt he took the flag hole 18. Nobody teach him. I didn’t teach him,” Choi said. “But he took the flag and I asked him after the round and another caddie in the group, Craig, he told him, like you have to grab the flag. So that’s why he got the flag. I mean, he always be my side and he tried to like give me a lot of food and drink and when I asked some question he always like respect my answers, so I think I always like that.”

A positive takeaway:
Mika Miyazato didn’t win the golf tournament Sunday, but she couldn’t help but be excited about her runner-up finish – her best on the LPGA Tour since her win at the 2012 Safeway Classic Presented by Coca Cola. Miyazato was one of the best players in the game in 2012 in a year she finished 11th on the money list. But she’s struggled to find that form since, finishing 36th on the money list in 2013 and 91st in 2014.

Miyazato has 25 career top-10s but for the first year in her six-year career on the LPGA Tour, she didn’t post a top-10 in 2014. She’s now posted two in the first half of 2015 and came the closest Sunday to returning to the winner’s circle she’s been since she last was in it in Portland. Was she thinking about her winless drought out there?

“Yeah, of course,” Miyazato answered. “Not pressure for me, just calm, just played more focused in my golf game today.”

Miyazato clearly loves this tournament. Her second best finish since that win in 2012 also came here in Arkansas with a third-place finish at this tournament in 2013.

“I had a great round today so I really excited,” Miyazato said. “Stacy [Lewis] and Brittany [Lincicome], it’s nice playing with them, so I’m very disappointed but it’s still fun.”

A dramatic swing:
Stacy Lewis heard the roar behind her emanating from the 16th green as she stood on the 17th tee, but she didn’t know the cause until she entered the 18th scoring area. The cause was Na Yeon Choi’s hole-out from 145 yards on the par-4, a swing that flipped the lead from a one-shot lead for Lewis to a one-shot lead for Choi.

Lewis had a 10-foot birdie putt at the 17th to tie it, but instead missed. As she approached the 18th, Lewis didn’t see a scoreboard to see the swing but knew she needed eagle at the last because she heard it someone in the crowd say it. But shockingly, she didn’t try to go for the green in two on her second shot not wanting to challenge the front bunker on the par-5, choosing instead to lay up short of the pond.

“We had about 212 to carry the bunker, and I just felt with that wind off the lie I couldn’t get it over the bunker,” Lewis said. “So I could get it on the front right part of the green but it didn’t really do me any good so I thought the best opportunity to do something was to lay up.”

That decision didn’t prove prudent as she yanked her third into the left greenside bunker, where she failed to get up and down for a bogey at the last to give Choi an easy walk up the 18th. But at the end of the day, Lewis said there was nothing to blame except her putter. She missed three putts inside 10 feet over the last three holes.

“I played some great golf this week and it’s coming around at the right time,” Lewis said. “We’ve got some big tournaments coming up here in the next few weeks.”

Still, she couldn’t hide her disappointment that she wasn’t able to defend here in her adopted hometown where her beloved Razorbacks call home. She’s been close a lot since that win here a year ago but hasn’t posted a win since despite seven top-three finishes since.

“It’s tough but honestly it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been in this position and few months really so you know you can’t be too upset,” Lewis said. “When somebody holes out and makes birdie on 16 and 17, you know, it’s one of those things that it’s kind of meant to be for her. But maybe this year I switch the first and second and go to U.S. Open and win so I’m going to take a lot of good things out of this week and just keep going.”

But the game is back. She had been searching over the past four events with a T13 as her best finish after she opened the season with seven top-10s in her first nine starts. She’d worked throughout the week off last week on the position at the top of her backswing and that was the difference in her play this week.

“It was the golf swing. The golf swing was definitely back and I was able to hit shots,” Lewis said. “Adrenaline got me a little bit there coming in which is good, means the club is in the right position at the top of the back swing and that really was the difference this week.”

Lewis now heads to the U.S. Women’s Open in a week, a championship she covets that she nearly won a year ago when she finished as the runner-up to Michelle Wie.

Kor rounding into form:
Lydia Ko’s game is rounding into form just in time after she tied her career low on the LPGA with a 63 Sunday to vault into a tie for 5th at 11-under-par 202.

After her win at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, her second win of 2015, Ko’s game found a surprising string of uncharacteristic performances. Since she opened the season with seven top-10s in her first eight starts, which included two wins, Ko hadn’t finished better than T16 in her last four starts heading into this championship, and she recently missed the cut at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, snapping a string of 53 made cuts in a row on the LPGA Tour.

But in her first event after losing the world No. 1 ranking, Ko posted a top-five again just in time for one of the season’s biggest events – the U.S. Women’s Open.

“I think I’ve been hitting the ball really well the last couple days. Just the first day my tee shot was a little off and that created three bogeys with it, but other than that I’ve been hitting the ball really well,” Ko said. “My tee shots were good the last two days so in a way I was playing good and my score wasn’t up to that. But today I got some putts rolling and I shot in well with 3-under the first three holes, and when you get in a good momentum like that it gives you a good confidence for the day.”

Ko is the first to admit that her nerves are on another level at major championships, and her two worst finishes of 2015 – T51 and a missed cut – both came at the season’s first two major championships. But she took a ton away from both and thinks she’s more prepared for the season’s third major.

“Yeah, I know, that like I really had one bad hole [at KPMG] and I kind of got it carried on for the next couple holes and that was really my mistake,” Ko said. “And I thought I tried to get my mind together. Then, you know, I was only one shot, you know, from making the cut. So I think learning is that one hole is one hole. There are some birdies out there. I had a good time off, you know, I enjoyed New York, and I watched a Broadway show.”

Ko has a charity outing Monday and then she’ll take a couple days off and then she’ll start to prepare for Lancaster Country Club, the site of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.

Key numbers to know:
2 - Number of wins for Na Yeon Choi in 2015. She also won the Cates Golf Championship
5 - Runner-up finishes for Stacy Lewis since her last LPGA win, which came here in Arkansas in 2014.
7 - Number of top-3 finishes for Stacy Lewis since her last win
9 - Number of LPGA career wins for Na Yeon Choi
27 – It has now been 27 events since Stacy Lewis’ last win, which came here in Arkansas last year. That’s the longest stretch she’s gone without a win since her first career victory at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship. She’s since won 10 more tournaments since that win.

Quote of the day:
“You know, I did definitely didn’t play perfect golf this week especially on those last eight holes. So I know what I need to work on the U.S. Open. I know kind of what happened when the pressure was on, came up and out of putts a little bit. So I’m going to work on that, on the golf swing but I really like where everything is right now.”

- Stacy Lewis describing how she feels heading into the U.S. Women’s Open

Show me the eagles:
Two total eagles were made on Saturday (Gaby Lopez and Na Yeon Choi) at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G and players raised $2,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project as part of the season-long Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends.

In all there have been 138 eagles recorded in 2015, raising $138,000.

Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.

Click here for full results & prize money.

Round 2 - Choi storms into lead heading into final round

June 27, 2015

Na Yeon Choi posted a back-nine 29 Saturday to storm into the lead after the morning wave with a birdie, eagle finish. Choi heads into the final round of the tournament with the lead since the 2014 Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic where she finished T3. Choi is looking for her second win this year and the 10th of her career and sits two strokes ahead of Anna Nordqvist (-11) and M.J. Hur (-11).

“Actually beginning of this week I felt really good about my swing and putting, so I felt like pretty confident with this tournament and this week. And then I just realized I shoot 29 on the back nine today, and that was my record,” Choi said. “I mean, on the course I didn’t think about any score, any number out there, I just tried to be more independent player out there, and after 18 holes I got the score, I’m very satisfied.”

Choi entered the par-5 18th hole tied for the lead with M.J. Hur and was in between clubs when she left her drive in the first cut on the left side. She couldn’t decide whether to bomb it over the pond at the pin situated in the middle of the green or to simply lay it up below the pond and leave a short wedge into the green. Ultimately, she made the right decision and curled in a 45-foot eagle putt to culminate a 8-under-63 and send the crowd into a frenzy.

“I got the 3-wood out first, then changed it to a pitching wedge and then back to 3-wood because there is a small gap to the right side of the green,” Choi said. “But the wind helped me a lot, wind was a little bit helping right to left, so I just hit 3-wood. I mean, I couldn’t hit a 3-wood if today is Sunday, but today’s like Saturday and I feel good about my swing so I just hit it.”

Na Yeon Choi Sets 36 Hole Tournament Record at Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

While Choi was sending the crowd into a frenzy with her eagle-birdie finish, Stacy Lewis was serving as the primer in the group in front of Choi. Lewis, the University of Arkansas product, had a massive group following her all morning and incited almost as many Hog calls on the 17th hole as you’d hear on a fall Saturday at Razorback Stadium when she rolled in her birdie. She followed that up with a birdie at the last as well to the delight of the natives.

The defending champ is just four shots back of Choi at 9-under for the tournament after Saturday’s 65 heading into Sunday’s final round.

“I think that cheer on 17 was louder than 18 last year,” Lewis said. “We’ve got more people out here this year and I love this tournament, I love coming back here, so it never gets old.”

Anna Nordqvist, looking for her second win in 2015, showed a lot of emotion with abig fist pump after she drained a 12 foot birdie putt on her final hole.

“I felt like I hit a lot of good putts today, just couldn’t get some of them to drop and it’s always nice to finish with a birdie. I played really good today, hit my irons really good so I gave myself a lot of chances. It’s just late. Tried to keep my attitude up and keep my patience and my energy up. It was nice to get one on the last, get one shot closer to Na Yeon Choi for tomorrow.”

While Choi was sending the crowd into a frenzy with her eagle-birdie finish, Stacy Lewis was serving as the primer in the group in front of Choi. Lewis, the University of Arkansas product, had a massive group following her all morning and incited almost as many Hog calls on the 17th hole as you’d hear on a fall Saturday at Razorback Stadium when she rolled in her birdie. She followed that up with a birdie at the last as well to the delight of the natives.

The defending champ is just four shots back of Choi at 9-under for the tournament after Saturday’s 65 heading into Sunday’s final round.

“I think that cheer on 17 was louder than 18 last year,” Lewis said. “We've got more people out here this year and I love this tournament, I love coming back here, so it never gets old.”

Razor sharp support:
More than the thunderous roar from the pro-Razorback crowd, those last two birdies putts provided a glimmer of hope for Stacy Lewis.

Hope that she can repeat as the champion at this event.

“The last four holes were huge,” Lewis said. “If I can get within a couple of the lead, hopefully this afternoon they don’t do anything crazy. I think I was a couple back last year. So you’ve got to shoot low numbers on this golf course and I set myself up to do it again.”

With the 36-hole scoring record having already fallen, Lewis knows it’ll take another low number Sunday to defend her title.

“It’s going to be low again. I think the greens are perfect this year, so I think that’s what you’re seeing in the scores

being so good,” Lewis said. “It’s going to take another low one just like last year. But I’ve done it and I can do it, so hopefully just get hot on the back nine again.”

Olympics is the goal:
Golf makes its return to the Olympic Gamesnext year in Rio and it’s a topic that is on the mind of most of the LPGA players. The top-15 players in the world would qualify automatically, with a limit of four per country, and the

remaining places go to the highest ranked players from countries that do not already have two golfers qualified.

According to International Golf Federation rankings, Inbee Park (1), Hyo Joo Kim (4), So Yeon Ryu (7) and Sei Young Kim (10) would be the four top-ranked Korean players with Na Yeon Choi, currently ranked 20th in the Rolex Rankings, sitting behind Mirim Lee (13), Amy Yang (15) and In Chun (18).

Choi won the season-opening event at the Coates Golf Championship and has two other top-10 finishes. With so many talented countrywomen to battle until the Olympics begin, Choi knows she needs to concentrate on playing well every day.

“It’s my goal, it’s one of my biggest goal like being an Olympic, but I think since I think about that, I got a lot of

pressure,“ Choi explained. “You know, a lot of Korean players playing well and top-5 or top-10. I have to play well. But kind of everything is giving me a lot of pressure so right now that’s my goal. I would like to be there, it would be an honor, but right now just play every day and then play to great.”

A win this week would be a step in that direction.

Hur not thinking:
Although M.J Hur hit five less greens in Saturday’s 3-under 68 than Friday’s 8-under 63, she didn’t necessarily blame the scoring disparity on her ball striking.

“You know what, I think my putting was really good yesterday. It dropped more often,” Hur said. “Today it’s like a lot of lip-outs. But I like today’s round. I satisfied with my round today.”

Hur sits two back of Na Yeon Choi, who she’s played against in tournaments for the last 15 years or so. For her to catch Choi, she knows she’ll have to find what she had on Friday.

“I didn’t think too much, just think about where I am,” Hur said. “I just hit it. Didn’t think of, oh, there’s a bunker; oh, there’s wind. I definitely think about the wind but didn’t think about any other bad things on the course.”

She’ll certainly try to avoid any thoughts of the final round here in 2009. She climbed her way all the way into second on Sunday before posting four consecutive bogeys the last four holes to finish in a tie for 14th.

Key numbers to know:
-2 - Cut line after today’s second round at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
26 – It’s been 26 events since Stacy Lewis’ last win, which came here in Arkansas last year. That’s the longest stretch she’s gone without a win since her first career victory at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship. She’s since won 10 more tournaments since that win.
63 – Na Yeon Choi and M.J. Hur’s 8-under-par 63s are one shot shy of the tournament record here
65 – Stacy Lewis fired a final-round 65 here a year ago to come from behind for the one-shot win
93 - Out of the top 100 ranked players in the Rolex Rankings, 93 are playing this week in Arkansas
129 - Na Yeon Choi’s score after the first 36 holes at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
201 - Stacy Lewis’ winning score a year ago

Notes & stuff:
• 74 players made the cut, which fell at -2 (140). Notables who missed the cut were World No. 1 and recent KPMG Women’s PGA Champion Inbee Park, Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel, former Walmart NW Arkansas Champions Yani Tseng and Ai Miyazato.
• Lisa Ferrero withdrew from the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Friday, citing injury (arm).
• Lisa McCloskey withdrew from the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Friday, citing injury (back).
• LPGA rookie Cheyenne Woods wrote an essay on The Player’s Tribune. In the essay, she talks openly about her relationship with her uncle Tiger Woods and you can read the whole story by visiting: www.theplayerstribune.com/cheyenne-woods-tiger-niece-lpga-golf/

Round 1 - Hur takes lead after rain delay

June 26, 2015

M.J. Hur teed off four hours after her scheduled time due to two separate thunderstorms in the area, but it only took her a little over three hours to steal the lead, jumping out to 8-under-par through 14 holes before play was called for the day. Hur is one of 63 players that will finish their first round at 7:45 AM CST.

Anna Nordqvist, Brittany Lincicome and Azahara Munoz hold the first-round clubhouse lead after each posted 6-under-par 65s at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G.

“Yeah, it's been a long day for sure. Had my alarm set at 5:00 a.m. this morning and teed off at 8:30 and it's what, about 5:30 now?” Nordqvist said. “I'll get some rest tomorrow, but bogey free I'll take any day. Feeling good about my game. Solid tee to green today and this course you can be aggressive at and you can attack, you have a lot of wedges in, so I tried to take advantage of that.”

Both Nordqvist and Lincicome arrived to Arkansas riding a wave of play as solid as almost any player on Tour not named Inbee Park. Both had posted a win over the last two months and each finished in the top-10 two weeks ago at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Neither slowed down on Friday, firing bogey-free rounds on the par-71 layout.

“Actually, going into today I was really nervous,” Lincicome said. “I played the Pro-Am yesterday and even the practice round I play Tuesday morning with Anna Nordqvist, I felt like I had no clue where the golf ball was going. So even going to the range this morning I told my caddie, I’m like I don’t feel good, I feel like there’s something off, there’s something wrong. Then had a couple saves early, which really helped. I made a couple of 15-footers to save par and it kind of was just the momentum I needed to get the round going."

Munoz has been a perennial top-25 player on the money list like her fellow co-leaders but didn’t arrive with the finishes she’s accustomed to over the last month since she returned from surgery on her hand. However, Munoz arrived to the tee with a different vibe than the one Lincicome was feeling.

“Last week had a really good practice with fiancé back in Florida and things started clicking,” Munoz said. “So coming into this week I finally felt much better. My hand’s still a little sore but I can practice. I just have to be a little smart about it. Finally started hitting the ball much better and that was the difference. I was just not striking the ball very well.”

Scores

Pos. Player Scores Total Dif. Prize Money
1 Na Yeon Choi 66 - 63 - 69 198 -15 $300,000.00
2 Mika Miyazato 66 - 67 - 67 200 -13 $184,703.00
3T Azahara Munoz 65 - 70 - 66 201 -12 $107,022.00
3T Stacy Lewis 68 - 65 - 68 201 -12 $107,022.00
3T Anna Nordqvist 65 - 66 - 70 201 -12 $107,022.00
6T Lydia Ko 70 - 69 - 63 202 -11 $58,483.00
6T Paula Creamer 67 - 69 - 66 202 -11 $58,483.00
6T Minjee Lee 68 - 66 - 68 202 -11 $58,483.00
9T Cristie Kerr 69 - 68 - 66 203 -10 $39,817.00
9T Marina Alex 66 - 69 - 68 203 -10 $39,817.00
9T Mariajo Uribe 66 - 69 - 68 203 -10 $39,817.00
9T Amy Yang 65 - 68 - 70 203 -10 $39,817.00
13T Min Seo Kwak 68 - 70 - 66 204 -9 $31,213.00
13T Paula Reto 71 - 64 - 69 204 -9 $31,213.00
13T Austin Ernst 69 - 65 - 70 204 -9 $31,213.00
16T Sei Young Kim 72 - 68 - 65 205 -8 $24,809.00
16T Pernilla Lindberg 69 - 71 - 65 205 -8 $24,809.00
16T Sandra Gal 67 - 72 - 66 205 -8 $24,809.00
16T Lizette Salas 65 - 74 - 66 205 -8 $24,809.00
16T Brittany Lincicome 65 - 68 - 72 205 -8 $24,809.00
16T Mi Jung Hur 63 - 68 - 74 205 -8 $24,809.00
22T Lexi Thompson 71 - 68 - 67 206 -7 $19,358.00
22T Meena Lee 71 - 67 - 68 206 -7 $19,358.00
22T Eun-Hee Ji 69 - 69 - 68 206 -7 $19,358.00
22T Suzann Pettersen 69 - 68 - 69 206 -7 $19,358.00
22T Q Baek 71 - 64 - 71 206 -7 $19,358.00
22T Alison Lee 70 - 65 - 71 206 -7 $19,358.00
22T Angela Stanford 68 - 66 - 72 206 -7 $19,358.00
29T Haeji Kang 71 - 69 - 67 207 -6 $14,677.00
29T Amelia Lewis 70 - 70 - 67 207 -6 $14,677.00
29T Xi Yu Lin 70 - 69 - 68 207 -6 $14,677.00
29T Gaby Lopez 73 - 65 - 69 207 -6 $0.00
29T So Yeon Ryu 73 - 65 - 69 207 -6 $14,677.00
29T Jenny Shin 68 - 68 - 71 207 -6 $14,677.00
29T Jee Young Lee 68 - 67 - 72 207 -6 $14,677.00
29T Chie Arimura 67 - 67 - 73 207 -6 $14,677.00
37T Hee Young Park 73 - 66 - 69 208 -5 $11,225.00
37T Wei-Ling Hsu 70 - 69 - 69 208 -5 $11,225.00
37T Tiffany Joh 70 - 69 - 69 208 -5 $11,225.00
37T Sakura Yokomine 69 - 69 - 70 208 -5 $11,225.00
37T Julieta Granada 68 - 68 - 72 208 -5 $11,225.00
37T Mo Martin 69 - 66 - 73 208 -5 $11,225.00
43T Cydney Clanton 74 - 66 - 69 209 -4 $8,326.00
43T Karlin Beck 70 - 70 - 69 209 -4 $8,326.00
43T Beatriz Recari 70 - 70 - 69 209 -4 $8,326.00
43T Jacqui Concolino 67 - 73 - 69 209 -4 $8,326.00
43T Karine Icher 69 - 70 - 70 209 -4 $8,326.00
43T Min Lee 69 - 70 - 70 209 -4 $8,326.00
43T Mirim Lee 66 - 72 - 71 209 -4 $8,326.00
43T Jodi Ewart Shadoff 69 - 68 - 72 209 -4 $8,326.00
43T Haru Nomura 69 - 68 - 72 209 -4 $8,326.00
52T Jane Park 73 - 67 - 70 210 -3 $6,168.00
52T Rebecca Lee-Bentham 69 - 71 - 70 210 -3 $6,168.00
52T P.K. Kongkraphan 71 - 68 - 71 210 -3 $6,168.00
52T Caroline Hedwall 70 - 69 - 71 210 -3 $6,168.00
52T Sandra Changkija 68 - 71 - 71 210 -3 $6,168.00
52T Karrie Webb 69 - 69 - 72 210 -3 $6,168.00
52T Kelly Shon 68 - 68 - 74 210 -3 $6,168.00
52T Gerina Piller 66 - 70 - 74 210 -3 $6,168.00
60T Candie Kung 72 - 68 - 71 211 -2 $5,031.00
60T Christina Kim 70 - 69 - 72 211 -2 $5,031.00
60T Ashleigh Simon 68 - 69 - 74 211 -2 $5,031.00
60T Katherine Kirk 67 - 70 - 74 211 -2 $5,031.00
64T Lee-Anne Pace 72 - 68 - 72 212 -1 $4,449.00
64T Ilhee Lee 70 - 70 - 72 212 -1 $4,449.00
64T Katie Burnett 69 - 71 - 72 212 -1 $4,449.00
64T Jessica Korda 70 - 69 - 73 212 -1 $4,449.00
64T Ji Young Oh 70 - 69 - 73 212 -1 $4,449.00
64T Cheyenne Woods 70 - 69 - 73 212 -1 $4,449.00
64T Thidapa Suwannapura 69 - 70 - 73 212 -1 $4,449.00
71 Danielle Kang 69 - 71 - 73 213 E $4,045.00
72 Joanna Klatten 68 - 71 - 76 215 2 $3,995.00
73 Laetitia Beck 70 - 70 - 77 217 4 $3,943.00
74 Jennifer Johnson 67 - 68 - 83 218 5 $3,893.00
CUT Jaye Marie Green 73 - 68 141 -1 $0.00
CUT Sydnee Michaels 73 - 68 141 -1 $0.00
CUT Catriona Matthew 70 - 71 141 -1 $0.00
CUT Michelle Wie 70 - 71 141 -1 $0.00
CUT Inbee Park 69 - 72 141 -1 $0.00
CUT Brittany Lang 68 - 73 141 -1 $0.00
CUT Brooke Pancake 67 - 74 141 -1 $0.00
CUT Morgan Pressel 67 - 74 141 -1 $0.00
CUT Yueer Cindy Feng 72 - 70 142 E $0.00
CUT Jennifer Rosales 72 - 70 142 E $0.00
CUT Alena Sharp 72 - 70 142 E $0.00
CUT Sarah Jane Smith 72 - 70 142 E $0.00
CUT Ai Miyazato 71 - 71 142 E $0.00
CUT Becky Morgan 71 - 71 142 E $0.00
CUT Pornanong Phatlum 71 - 71 142 E $0.00
CUT Nannette Hill 70 - 72 142 E $0.00
CUT Marissa Steen 70 - 72 142 E $0.00
CUT Jing Yan 70 - 72 142 E $0.00
CUT Chella Choi 69 - 73 142 E $0.00
CUT Jennifer Song 69 - 73 142 E $0.00
CUT Maria McBride 68 - 74 142 E $0.00
CUT Sue Kim 74 - 69 143 1 $0.00
CUT Yani Tseng 74 - 69 143 1 $0.00
CUT Dori Carter 73 - 70 143 1 $0.00
CUT Paz Echeverria 72 - 71 143 1 $0.00
CUT Victoria Elizabeth 72 - 71 143 1 $0.00
CUT Mi Hyang Lee 72 - 71 143 1 $0.00
CUT Kelly Tan 72 - 71 143 1 $0.00
CUT Belen Mozo 71 - 72 143 1 $0.00
CUT Alison Walshe 71 - 72 143 1 $0.00
CUT Amy Anderson 69 - 74 143 1 $0.00
CUT Ryann O'Toole 66 - 77 143 1 $0.00
CUT Garrett Phillips 78 - 66 144 2 $0.00
CUT Caroline Masson 75 - 69 144 2 $0.00
CUT Simin Feng 74 - 70 144 2 $0.00
CUT Moriya Jutanugarn 74 - 70 144 2 $0.00
CUT Therese Koelbaek 73 - 71 144 2 $0.00
CUT Maria Hernandez 72 - 72 144 2 $0.00
CUT Jane Rah 71 - 73 144 2 $0.00
CUT Ayako Uehara 71 - 73 144 2 $0.00
CUT Kim Kaufman 70 - 74 144 2 $0.00
CUT Jenny Suh 76 - 69 145 3 $0.00
CUT I.K. Kim 75 - 70 145 3 $0.00
CUT Jackie Stoelting 72 - 73 145 3 $0.00
CUT Danah Bordner 71 - 74 145 3 $0.00
CUT Elizabeth Nagel 76 - 70 146 4 $0.00
CUT Mallory Blackwelder 74 - 72 146 4 $0.00
CUT Alejandra Llaneza 73 - 73 146 4 $0.00
CUT Stephanie Meadow 73 - 73 146 4 $0.00
CUT Kris Tamulis 71 - 75 146 4 $0.00
CUT Kendall Dye 70 - 76 146 4 $0.00
CUT Pat Hurst 75 - 72 147 5 $0.00
CUT SooBin Kim 75 - 72 147 5 $0.00
CUT Laura Diaz 73 - 74 147 5 $0.00
CUT Ju Young Park 73 - 74 147 5 $0.00
CUT Felicity Johnson 70 - 77 147 5 $0.00
CUT Kristy McPherson 77 - 71 148 6 $0.00
CUT Dewi Claire Schreefel 78 - 71 149 7 $0.00
CUT Sarah Kemp 77 - 72 149 7 $0.00
CUT Mina Harigae 73 - 76 149 7 $0.00
CUT Samantha Marks 75 - 75 150 8 $0.00
CUT Demi Runas 74 - 76 150 8 $0.00
CUT Jennifer Kirby 79 - 72 151 9 $0.00
CUT Kristi O'Brien 75 - 76 151 9 $0.00
CUT Julie Yang 76 - 76 152 10 $0.00
CUT Ariya Jutanugarn 75 - 77 152 10 $0.00
CUT Sadena Parks 79 - 74 153 11 $0.00
CUT Candy Hannemann 81 - 76 157 15 $0.00
WD Lisa Ferrero 0 E $0.00
WD Lisa McCloskey 0 E $0.00
N/A Karin Sjodin 0 E $0.00

 

Preview

DATES:  June 26-28
SITE:  Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers, Arkansas
PRIZE MONEY: $2,000,000
Click here for tournament stats & info

Park Begins Reign as No. 1:
Inbee Park’s sixth career major championship win at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship also came with a return to the world No. 1 ranking. Park will be graced with the green bib for her caddie, signifying her presence as the world’s No. 1 player for the tournament this week. Lydia Ko had previously held the No. 1 spot since the first week of February but Ko missed the cut and Park won the tournament to regain her foot hold.

No. 1 is not a new spot for Park. She previously served 59 weeks as the world No. 1 from 2013 - 2014 and she was also No. 1 to begin the 2015 season, before Ko took it from her with a runner-up finish at the Coates Golf Championship to open the year.

Park has already won three events this year - the HSBC Women’s Champions, Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC, and KPMG Women’s PGA Championship - and she leads the standings for the Race to the CME Globe, money list, scoring average and Rolex Player of the Year honors.

Defending Her Home Turf:
Stacy Lewis returns to her roots this week - the place that helped build her into one of the best players in the world. Lewis spent five years at the University of Arkansas, after redshirting her freshman year as she recovered from back surgery to correct scoliosis. Lewis’ Arkansas roots are still deeply embedded as she’s maintained a close relationship with Arkansas women’s golf coach Shawna Estes-Taylor, who came to the U.S. Women’s Open last year to assist Lewis with short-game shots at Pinehurst No. 2. And in the offseason, Lewis returns the favor by returning to Fayetteville to act as a volunteer women’s golf coach for the team.

She served a dual role Monday, acting as both one of the world’s best players and also as a coach as she played a practice round with Arkansas junior Gabriela Lopez, who finished as the runner-up at the NCAA Championships.

Lewis sent Arkansas fans into an uproar a year ago with a birdie at the last for the win in front of her home fans. It was the second win here in the eight-year history of the event for Lewis as she also won in 2007 as an amateur when the tournament was rain shortened to 18 holes.

Second Act:
Lydia Ko looks to start a new streak this week. After making the cut in her first 53 LPGA starts, Ko missed the cut at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship but will look to begin a new streak this week. It’s been a year of streaks for Ko, who posted 29 consecutive under par rounds early in the year to tie Annika Sorenstam’s record.

Ko, the No. 2 player in the world at just 18 years old, finished in a three-way tie for second a year ago here with Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford, one shot back of Stacy Lewis. Ko went on to win the 2014 Race to the CME Globe and has already won twice in 2015.

Un-Pressel-dented Stretch:
Morgan Pressel may be the youngest major champion in women’s golf history but even she’s never enjoyed a stretch like this on Tour in her decorated eight years on the LPGA. Whatever Pressel says she lost in her game on the Asian Swing to start the year, she’s certainly found as she’s posted four top-five finishes in her last eight starts.

Perhaps, more impressive is the competition she’s done it in. She posted a solo third, just one shot out of a playoff, at the season’s first major - the ANA Inspiration - and followed that up with a playoff loss at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, which had one of the strongest fields of a non-major all season. And she didn’t slow down when May hit, taking the lead into the final day at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer before falling into a third. Her last start at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was further validation that the changes in her golf swing have taken to in a major way as she finished in fifth for her second consecutive top-five in a major championship - the second time she’s done that in her career.

Loudest hole on Tour gets louder:
The famous 17th hole at Pinnacle Country Club, or as it’s affectionately known “the loudest hole on Tour,” is bigger and better than ever this year. The build surrounding the green has been enhanced and should make for even more raucous crowds this year.

Year of the Rookie:
It’s been the Year of the Rookie on the LPGA Tour. Four times already an event has ended this season with a rookie winner with Sei Young Kim winning twice and Minjee Lee and Hyo Joo Kim both winning once. Currently, six LPGA rookies sit in the top-25 on the money list.

Kim’s been the most spectacular of the bunch, winning the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in a three-way playoff and stealing the Lotte Championship away from world No. 1 Inbee Park with a holed out chip at the last to force a playoff and a dunked, 154-yard second shot on the first playoff hole to win in Hawaii. Kim’s also posted top fives in both major championships to start 2015. Don’t be surprised to see a rookie in contention - or even winning - again this weekend.

Notes and Stuff:
• LPGA rookie Sadena Parks is featured in the upcoming ESPN The Body Issue. Parks joins 23 other athletes featured in the annual issue including Bryce Harper, Kevin Love, Odell Beckham Jr., Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece, Tyler Seguin and Brittney Griner, among others. The issue will be released online on July 6 and on newsstands July 10.
• The Race to the CME Globe is heating up, with Inbee Park passing Lydia Ko for the lead after her win at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The Race to the CME Globe is a season-long points competition in which LPGA Members accumulate points in every Official LPGA Tournament and compete for the $1 million prize. For a complete points listing, please visit www.lpga.com/race-to-cme-globe/updated-points-listing
• The 2015 Solheim Cup will take place Sept. 18-20 at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club near Heidelberg, Germany. Players began earning points toward the 2015 Solheim Cup at the 2013 CN Canadian Women’s Open and can earn points through the 2015 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open. For a complete listing of Solheim Cup points for Team USA, please visit www.lpga.com/statistics/points/solheim-cup

An appreciative defending champ:
Stacy Lewis credits much of her success on the LPGA Tour to this tournament. When Lewis entered the pro ranks, she already had experience on the LPGA because of this tournament. Through the nine-year existence of this tournament, one of the sponsor exemptions has always gone to the top player on Arkansas’ women’s golf team.

For two years, that was Lewis. And she proved to herself that she could belong when she registered an unofficial win here in 2007 as an amateur when the tournament was shortened to 18 holes because of rain. It’s even more special now because Lewis serves as a volunteer assistant women’s golf coach for Arkansas and she’ll be in the field with two of her players this week – Gaby Lopez, the sponsor exemption, and Samantha Marks, who earned her way in with medalist honors at the Monday qualifier.

“I love what the tournament has done over the years with inviting somebody on the team,” Lewis said. “Obviously I got my start doing the invite for a couple years and it was pretty big for me on learning how to handle these bigger tournaments like this and handling the big stage and playing in front of the crowds, so it’s just such a great learning opportunity for these girls. And just to see how Gaby’s game has gotten so much better over the last couple of years, it’s cool to maybe help her a long a little bit. I think her and Samantha have a chance of doing pretty well this year.”

And so this tournament had been on her radar for a while. She had wanted to earn an official win here, and she finally did last year, edging out Lydia Ko, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford by a single shot.

“I feel a little bit more relaxed this year just having gotten the win,” Lewis said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself the last few years to get the win. To do it last year and just coming back and seeing the highlights, seeing the videos, you know, it’s probably one of the coolest wins of my career. I love this place, I love coming back, and I’m looking forward to a really good week.”

Similar stretch for Park:
This week in Rogers is proving to set up perfectly for Inbee Park. It’s perfect because in reality she has done it before. Park has arrived to Arkansas feeling a little déjà vu because this week reminds her of the historic summer stretch she had that included two of her three-consecutive major wins.

In 2013 Park won the Wegmans LPGA Championship, took a week off, then won this tournament and followed up those two wins with a win at the U.S. Women’s Open. She has the potential to have the same string of weeks this year.

“I had this streak in 2013, I won the LPGA Championship and this week and then the U.S. Open,” said Park. “Another repeat of 2013 would be really nice.”

Park spent her week off after her third KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory at home in Las Vegas and prepared for this tournament with a little bit of rest and celebration. Nice dinners and fun rounds of golf with her parents and sister was the ultimate payoff for her sixth career major win. The off-week allowed her to spend time with family she does not get to see as much and said the elation of victory lasted longer than the others.

“This win actually lasted quite longer than what I thought,” said Park. “Next three, four days, even when the tournament was finished, I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s because I had my family as well on my off-week and everybody was just kind of enjoying it together. Yeah, just really happy off-week last week.”

Third time's a charm:
With her victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Inbee Park ascended to the top spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, her third time achieving the feat. This week in Arkansas marks the 75th week spent at No. 1 in her career (59 weeks in 2013 and 14 weeks in 2014). After being in this position twice before, she feels she’s most suited for the pressure the third time around.

“The first time I thought it was just, you know, I felt just a bit weird and it didn’t feel like my place,” said Park. “Second time it felt a little more comfortable, but I felt like my game wasn’t quite ready yet. But now the third time it feels like I’m really ready for this spot and my game is getting better and better every day and I feel like I am playing like a No. 1.”

Who are these amateurs:
University of Arkansas junior Gaby Lopez, the top returning Razorback as the 2015 NCAA Tournament runner-up, is an automatic amateur qualifier for the tournament this week. This will be the third time she has played the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, finishing T57 in 2014 and missing the cut in 2013.

Samantha Marks, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, shot an even par 71 on Monday to win the qualifier and earn one of two spots available for this event.

Key numbers to know:
1 – Stacy Lewis posted a one-stroke victory here a year ago, holding off Cristie Kerr, Lydia Ko and Angela Stanford
3 – Inbee Park has already posted three wins in her first 13 starts of 2015. In 2013, Park’s win here in Arkansas was the middle of a three consecutive win stretch, winning the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive starts.
6 – Number of rookies inside the top 25 on the money list
9 – This is the ninth edition of this tournament
12 – Stacy Lewis posted 12-under-par for the three-day event a year ago.
26 – It’s been 26 events since Stacy Lewis’ last win, which came here in Arkansas last year. That’s the longest stretch she’s gone without a win since her first career victory at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship. She’s since won 10 more tournaments since that win.
66 – Gaby Lopez posted a 6-under-par 66 in the final round of the NCAA Championships to fall just one shot short of victory. Stacy Lewis also posted a final round 66 in her 2007 NCAA Championships victory at Arkansas.
71 – Arkansas redshirt sophomore Samantha Marks won the Monday qualifier for a spot in the tournament field with a 1-under-par 71 on Monday. She joins Lopez and Stacy Lewis as one of three Razorbacks in the field.
93 - Out of the top 100 ranked players in the Rolex Rankings, 93 are playing this week in Arkansas





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