Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G Top Storylines

Inbee Park
Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Inbee Park of South Korea plays a shot on the 15th hole during the final round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G at the Pinnacle Country Club on June 23, 2013 in Rogers, Arkansas.

THIS WEEK ON THE LPGA TOUR
Week of June 23, 2014
Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G
Pinnacle Country Club
Rogers, Arkansas


(Note: Rogers is Central Time Zone)

TOP STORYLINES

LPGA MAKES EIGHTH TRIP TO NW ARKANSAS
The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G returns to Northwest Arkansas for the eighth edition of this tournament at Pinnacle Country Club. Inbee Park sandwiched her 2013 victory at this event between wins at two major championships - 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.


RAZORBACKS IN THE FIELD

The two sponsor’s exemptions - Emily Tubert and Gabby Lopez - will be adding a local feel this week and will definitely be taking part in Calling of the Hogs.

Tubert just graduated from the University of Arkansas after four seasons as a First-Team All-SEC member. The recently-turned professional won six collegiate tournaments and set an Arkansas school record with a first-round 63 in a tournament as a freshman. Tubert was recently named the recipient of the 2014 Dinah Shore Trophy, given to the nation’s collegiate golfer who best excels in athletics and academics. This will be her fourth time getting a sponsor’s invite into the tournament with her best finish coming as a freshman in 2011 when she finished in a tie for 48th after shooting 74-68-71.

Lopez, a rising junior on the Arkansas women’s golf team, is coming off a First-Team All-SEC season.

She also played in this event in 2013 but shot 79-74 to miss the cut.


PANTENE BEAUTIFUL LENGTHS
One of many charity-driven events on the lineup this week is the Pantene Beautiful Lengths event that drew over 400 hair donors last year. The program receives hair donations to make wigs for women fighting cancer.

The first-ever Pantene Beautiful Lengths event in Northwest Arkansas in 2007 had only eight participants. Last year, every school in the Northwest Arkansas region was represented from students ranging from five to 18.

The event will be held on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. Central Time at the JQ Hammons Convention Center.

QUICK FACTS

June 27 - June 29
Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G
Pinnacle Country Club
Rogers, Arkansas

Field: 144 (143 professionals, 1 amateur)
Par: 71
Yardage: 6,389
Purse: $2,000,000
Winner: $300,000
Defending Champion: Inbee Park

TV Times
Golf Channel
June 27 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
June 28 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
June 29 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

All times listed are Eastern

Past Champions
2013 Inbee Park
2012 Ai Miyazatio
2011 Yani Tseng
2010 Yani Tseng
2009 Jiyai Shin
2008 SeonHwa Lee

2014 LPGA Tour Rookies (16)
Amy Anderson Xi Yu Lin
Jaye Marie Green Megan McChrystal
Megan Grehan Giulia Molinaro
Emma Jandel Erica Popson
Kim Kaufman Paula Reto
Stacy Keating Kelly Tan
Mirim Lee Line Videl
Lydia Ko  

Sponsor Invitations
Gabby Lopez (a)
Emily Tubert
Qualifiers (2)
Reilly Rankin (-1, 70)
Ariya Jutaguarn (-1, 70)

Rolex Rankings
Top 10: 9/10
Top 20: 18/20

2014 LPGA Official Money List
Top 10: 9/10
Top 20: 19/20

PRESS CONFERENCE AND MEDIA EVENT SCHEDULE
Wednesday, June 25    
Time Event Location
11:00 a.m. Lydia Ko Press Conference Media Center
1:00 p.m. Stacy Lewis Press Conference Media Center
1:30 p.m. Inbee Park Press Conference Media Center
     
Thursday, June 26    
TBD Michelle Wie Press Conference

Media Center

TBD Emily Tubert & Gabby Lopez Press Conference Media Center
* All times are Central    

Topics: Storylines, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

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