As the tour returns to Rogers, Arkansas and Pinnacle Country Club for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G, history points to a few things to look out for in the 15e official edition of this must-have on the LPGA circuit.
There are tournaments on the schedule where par is always a good score. It’s not one of them. With the event being 54 holes, it is more of a sprint than a marathon with birdies flying in early and often. In 2016, for example, Lydia Ko shot 66, 62 and 68 and won by just three strokes over Morgan Pressel and Candie Kung, who shot 14 under for three rounds and finished second.
A year later, So Yeon Ryu rose to No. 1 in the Rolex rankings with her victory in Arkansas. In the process, she put all her fans on 59 watches in Friday’s competition when she came in at 10 under par over 16 holes. Although she didn’t beat 60, Ryu fired shots of 65, 61 and 69 and only won by two shots over Moriya Jutanugarn and Amy Yang.
The points record for this event was set in 2018 when Nasa Hataoka averaged an astonishing 21 under over three rounds, including a closing 63.
Hataoka is the defending champion, having shot -16 in 2021 to capture the event with one shot over Minjee Lee and Eun Hee Ji. In the process, Hataoka had two holes in one, another sign that par is a losing number in this event.
The 17the at Pinnacle Country Club became something of a stadium, with hospitality stands lining the entire par-3. a player linked to the University of Arkansas passed.
What calls the pigs, you ask? It’s the chant the Arkansas faithful use to put down roots in their teams. “Woo pig, suey!”
Stacy Lewis, a Razorback alum and former winner of that championship, helped lead the cheers. Now, with more alumni on the pitch this week like Maria Fassi and Gaby Lopez, expect to hear those cries more often.
A divided house
Speaking of Lewis, most ardent fans know that the next US Solheim Cup captain was born in Ohio, moved to Clemson, South Carolina, but actually grew up in The Woodlands, Texas before to travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for the university where she won the school prize. first NCAA individual championship. What some may not know is that her husband, Gerrod Chadwell, is now the head women’s golf coach at Texas A&M University.
At 7:00 p.m. EDT Saturday, around the end of the second round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, the undefeated Razorbacks will take on the Aggies in College Station, Texas in one of college football’s most anticipated matchups of the fourth. week.
Neither Stacy nor Garrod will attend the game. Stacy teeed off at No. 1 at Pinnacle Country Club this Saturday, while Gerrod will coach his team at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas during the “Mo” Morial Invitational.
Old Razorback Fan Favorites
It seems fitting at the height of Hispanic Heritage Month that two of Arkansas’ favorite girls hail from Mexico and will return to Rogers for another shot at winning.
Since the last time this event was played, former Razorback Gaby Lopez has added another title to her resume. The 28-year-old from Mexico won the Dana Open in Toledo on the first weekend of September, birdieing the final hole to repel a charge from Megan Khang. Now Lopez is heading back to her college town hoping to end the month the way she started it.
Looking for her first career win is another former Razorback, Maria Fassi, who won the NCAA Individual Championship in Arkansas and is entering the week playing some of the best golf of her career. Fassi finished third at the Queen City Championship, his second top 5 of the year.
For the second time in three events, the featured groups will air live on ESPN+ beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on Friday morning. Streaming functionality was first added to the LPGA Tour during the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G and immediately enhanced the fan experience.
Not only can fans follow some of the most popular players in women’s football from warm-ups to final putts, but the players engage with ESPN+ commentators throughout the round to preview their rounds.