Ai Miyazato set to defend at this week's Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G

Ai Miyazato

Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas will be the backdrop for this week’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G, where a star-studded field of 144 players will contend over three days for a $2 million purse and a $300,000 first-place prize.

Reigning champion and Rolex Rankings No. 10 Ai Miyazato is back in Arkansas after an outstanding finish in 2012 when she defeated Azahara Munoz and Mika Miyazato by sinking a birdie putt on the final hole to take a one-stroke victory. The Japan native fired the lowest round of the week, a 7-under 65, during Sunday’s final round to stage a five-stroke comeback and capture the win with a three-day tally of 12-under 201. The win marked her ninth victory in her seven-year tenure on the LPGA Tour and her latest victory to date.

This week’s field consists of 22 of the top-25 players in the Rolex Rankings including No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 2 Stacy Lewis, No. 3 Suzann Pettersen, No. 8 Jiyai Shin, No. 11 Cristie Kerr, and No. 25 Beatriz Recari, who are all tournament winners this season.

Park continued her dominant play this year by capturing her third-career major title and second this season at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. With her victory, she crossed the $1 million mark in season earnings and took a commanding lead in the Rolex Player of the Year race with 191 points, more than 100 points ahead of Pettersen who is in second place. But the Norwegian has proven to be a tough competitor for Park as she recorded her fifth top-3 finish of the season in Rochester.    

Lewis will be a fan-favorite this week as the University of Arkansas alum returns to the area where she attended college. She’ll be leading the “Calling of the Hogs” chant as she makes her way up the par-3 17th hole, now coined as the loudest hole in golf. The redesigned structure of the grandstands creates a “stadium” feel surrounding the green and the shortened 145-yard hole will provide some excitement for the rowdy spectators.  

The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G will be played June 28-30 and will be featured on Golf Channel all three days. First-round coverage will air from 6:30-8:30 p.m. EST and coverage will air from 5-7 p.m. EST during Saturday and Sunday’s rounds.

Topics: Tournament Preview, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

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