ROGERS, AR (June 2, 2014) – Two University of Arkansas golfers, incoming junior Gabriela Lopez and recently graduated senior Emily Tubert will be joining the field as sponsorship exemptions at the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. The tournament will return to Pinnacle Country Club June 23-29 for the eighth successive year.
"We are excited to be able to offer both Gaby and Emily a spot in the tournament this year," said Tournament Director, Harry Hardy. "Both girls had an impressive year as Razorback golfers. Notably, Emily will be making her professional LPGA debut at the tournament, and we are excited to help launch her promising career. We are proud to support our local emerging female golfers, and we look forward to seeing them tested against the best in the world as they compete in our tournament."
Hailing from Mexico City, Mexico, Gabriela Lopez was selected to the SEC First-Team as a sophomore Razorback golfer, her second All-SEC honor. She finished the year with a team-best 72.85 stroke average, and has a 72.87 career average.
In addition to her upcoming professional debut, Emily Tubert was recently awarded the 2014 Dinah Shore Trophy by the LPGA Foundation. The Trophy recognizes female collegiate golfers who excel in academics, leadership skills and community service. Tubert wrapped up her time as a Razorback with six medalist titles, 21 top five and 26 top 10 finishes. She finished with a 72.25 career stroke average and a 1.05 average versus par.
Lopez and Tubert will appear alongside an impressive tournament field, including defending champion and World Number 2 Inbee Park, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, and former Razorback golfer and new Number 1 player in the world Stacy Lewis. Nine of the Top 10 Rolex World Rankings Players and nine of the 10 LPGA Tournament Champions so far in 2014 are scheduled to appear at the tournament.
"With the inclusion of Emily and Gaby to our field alongside World Number 1 Stacy Lewis, we have players representing the past, present and future of the University of Arkansas golf program. We encourage golf and Razorback fans alike to come out to the event this year and cheer them on to the top of the leaderboard," added Hardy.
Tournament officials also announced that Saturday will be College Day at the LPGA where players and fans are encouraged to wear their favorite college colors to the tournament.
Tournament facilities redesigned
The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G will feature a complete redesign and expansion of every tournament structure for the 2014 year, tournament officials announced.
"Almost everything has been revamped and redesigned to improve the spectator experience," shared Harry Hardy, Tournament Director. "If you’ve been in the past, you won’t recognize it. We are excited to see and hear fans’ reactions, and looking forward to our biggest year yet."
Included in those changes is the makeover of the 17th hole, which will be known as the Gatorade Loudest Hole on Tour. Structures around the hole will include the Ballpark Fan Pavilion, the Malibu Party Deck and the newest addition to the hole, The Club Presented by MasterCard–an upgraded ticket opportunity for the general public that includes complimentary food and drink, and a prime view of both the tee and green.
In addition to the changes on the course, guests will be greeted with a new addition on their way in the gates. The roads leading into Pinnacle Country Club will be renamed for the week of the tournament to honor two LPGA professionals. Champions Drive will be known as Stacy Lewis Drive after the former Razorback golfer, and Pauline Whitaker Parkway will be named Inbee Park Way in honor of the 2013 tournament champion.
The Pantene Beautiful Lengths ponytail cutting event is returning to the tournament in 2014 with an added element to involve local elementary schools and spur donations, tournament officials shared. The event encourages participants to grow, cut and donate eight inches of untreated hair to make real hair wigs for people who have lost their hair from cancer. To make a larger impact this year, the tournament and Procter & Gamble hosted satellite events at area schools the week of May 27-29. One school from each of Northwest Arkansas’ four area school districts was chosen to participate, and 82 students and teachers donated hair. The official Pantene Beautiful Lengths event will once again be held at the John Q. Hammons Center on June 25. More information can be found at www.beautifullengthsnwa.com.
For more details about the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and to purchase tickets, visit www.nwachampionship.com or call (479) 715-6100.
Every structure of the tournament has been expanded or redesigned for 2014
Structures around the 17th hole will grow by 64 percent from 2013 to over 10,000 square feet in 2014
Capacity in the structures surrounding the 17th hole is growing to 1,251 people, compared to a capacity of 764 in 2013
The Ballpark Fan Pavilion will grow by 28 percent in covered viewing space
Walmart Kids Center presented by Dove will feature a 120 percent increase in size from 2013 with a 9-hole putt putt course for the kids, among other activities
The 18th hole will feature larger bleachers in 2014 with a 30 percent increase in seating from last year