Walmart NW Arkansas Championship tees off today

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LPGA Makes Seventh Trip to NW Arkansas

The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G returns to Northwest Arkansas at Pinnacle Country Club. Inbee Park sandwiched her 2013 victory at this event between wins at two major championship — the Wegmans LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open, arguably the greatest month of golf in LPGA history.
Park’s victory took extra holes a year ago, draining a four-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat her best friend on tour So Yeon Ryu. Both Park and Ryu had made a birdie on the 18th to force the playoff, but Park’s playoff birdie completed her Sunday comeback after entering the final round two shots back of four leaders.
The Champ is Here
The biggest win of her career and a subsequent New York City whirlwind media tour won’t stop Michelle Wie from getting right back out there, looking to seize the momentum from her U.S. Women’s Open victory at Pinehurst.
Wie’s first major came after the lead was cut to just one shot as she headed to the 17th tee, but Wie responded with two of the biggest shots of her career – a 170-yard shot to 25 feet and a double-breaking birdie putt – to wrap things up. The win was her fourth career victory and second of the season.
She’s No. 1 on the money list and has nine top-10 finishes in 13 events in 2014. Wie’s long been a crowd favorite on tour and her Sunday triumph brought a 92-percent increase to the TV ratings for the U.S. Women’s Open.
Heading Home
Stacy Lewis, a former Arkansas Razorback, returns to her second home this week as the No. 1 player in the world, fresh off a runner-up finish at the U.S. Women’s Open after back-to-back birdies to close it put pressure on Wie coming in.
The runner-up Lewis has been the model of consistency on tour this season with 11 finishes of T6 or better in 14 starts. She’s already won twice this season, including a month ago at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer. She hasn’t won this event previously but has played every year since its inception. The 2013 was one she wanted particularly bad after vaulting herself into a tie for the lead with a 67-65 to open, but a final-round 71 derailed her chances of winning and left her two shots back. She’s frequently spoken about this tournament being one of her favorite events on Tour, and she was able to play it twice as an amateur in her final two years at Arkansas.
Wednesday & Thursday Pro-Am Pairings
Amateurs will team up with LPGA professionals on Wednesday, June 25 and Thursday, June 26 at Pinnacle Country Club for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G Pro-Am.  Morning groups will tee off from 7:00-9:00a.m. and afternoon groups will tee off from 12:00-2:10p.m. in the 18-hole tournament.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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