SO YEON RYU – REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
So Yeon Ryu’s 61 is the lowest 18-hole round in Walmart NWA history, breaking the previous mark of 62 (Ayako Uehara, 2016; Lydia Ko, 2016; Angela Park, 2012; Jane Park, 2012)
Ryu also set the tournament 36-hole record at 126; the previous record of 128 was set by Ko and Morgan Pressel in 2016
Ryu’s 61 ties her career-low round, which she shot at the 2012 Australian Ladies Masters; her previous LPGA low was a 62 at the 2012 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, which she went on to win
Ryu also set an LPGA career-low with her 36-hole score of 126; her previous low score was a 129 at the 2014 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, which she also went on to win
If Ryu can take the victory, she would become the first multiple winner of the 2017 season, joining her win at the ANA Inspiration; 15 players have won titles in 2017, which ties 1991 for the longest stretch to begin a season in LPGA history
Through 36 holes, Ryu holds a five-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Moriya Jutanugarn; the largest victory margin of 2017 is six strokes, set by Mirim Lee at the Kia Classic
Ryu is within striking distance of the tournament’s 54-hole scoring record of 17-under 196, set by Lydia Ko in 2016. Ryu needs a 2-under 70 on Sunday to match that mark and at least a 3-under 69 to become the seventh player to break a tournament record in 2017.
|Player||Score||2017 Tournament||Previous Record|
|Brittany Lincicome and Lexi Thompson||-26||Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic||-19 Jessica Korda (2010)|
|Amy Yang||-22||Honda LPGA Thailand||-12 Ai Miyazato (2010), Suzann Pettersen (2010)|
|Cristie Kerr||-20||LOTTE Championship Presented by Hershey||-19 Suzann Pettersen (2013), Lizette Salas (2013)|
|Lexi Thompson||-20||Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC||-19 Annika Sorenstam (2008)|
|Shanshan Feng||-19||LPGA Volvik Championship||-15 Ariya Jutanugarn (2016)|
LEWIS CONTINUES TO THRILL RAZORBACK FANS
As a graduate of the University of Arkansas, Stacy Lewis always thrills the fans at the Walmart NWA and loves calling the Hogs. She gave her fans quite the thrill at No. 18, when her birdie putt did a slow roll around the hole and eventually dropped for her 6-under 65 and a tie for second.
“It was a 50/50 putt, and I think the crowds blew it in there on the backside,” said Lewis with a laugh. She also charged the crowd at the rowdy No. 17 – nicknamed the loudest hole on Tour – when she knocked in a 20-footer for birdie.
“When that putt went in, it was awesome,” said Lewis, who took the title here in 2014, her last victory on Tour. “That’s kinda why you play, for those moments. I’m just glad I could give the fans a birdie and give ‘em something to cheer for.”
ASHOK ON THE RISE
Aditi Ashok made the most of moving day, firing a second-round 64 to jump from T53 into a tie for fifth.
“Obviously, I feel good,” said Ashok, who joins Simi Mehra as the only Indian women who hold LPGA Tour cards. “I knew yesterday with the wind the morning half is the scoring half, so I knew if I got out early and hit some good shots, I would be able to make some birdies. I dropped one shot, but I hold enough putts to have a good score so I’m happy”
The rookie from Bangalore, India, hopes that her experiences at the 2016 Summer Olympics and winning on the Ladies European Tour (LET) will serve her well in tomorrow’s final round.
“The Olympics was sort of halfway into my rookie year on the LET, but it was a huge experience,” said Ashok, who finished 41st at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. “I was in the top three after the first few days, but I didn’t finish that well. But still just being in an event that big, getting to play with some of the best players in the world was pretty good, and I sort of figured out where my game was at and then I worked hard ... I won a couple of events on LET, which was a good sign, and then I made it through Q school, and now I’m here.”
Ashok is looking to improve upon her best LPGA finish of T32, which she earned at the Meijer LPGA Classic last week.
“I had a great season last year but obviously the LPGA is where the best play,” said Ashok, “so I’m just excited to be in this position, and I’m just going to try to make the most of it and give my best.“
REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD
Inbee Park, who took the Walmart NW Arkansas title in 2013, finds herself in the hunt yet again this year at Pinnacle C.C. Despite an uncharacteristic triple bogey on the card, Park fired a second-round 65 to climb into a tie for fifth.
“I hit one bad shot today that ended up as triple bogey since I got embedded in the lie in the bunker,” Park explained. “I hit it all right but it rolled too much and ran into the hazard, and after that I made 8 birdies, so I feel like I made a good come back. I wish triple bogey wasn’t there but I think it was still a very good round.”
Park tried out a new putter in Friday’s first round, but quickly found the change not exactly to her liking.
“My ball striking has been very consistent this year, just my putter wasn’t working as well,” Park said. “I took a new putter out yesterday and didn’t like it so changed back to the old putter. Now it’s started to roll in today. So yeah, I’m excited to be back with my old putter and, yeah, looking forward to tomorrow.”
- This is 2017 LPGA rookie Aditi Ashok’s 11th career start; her best finish is T32 at last week’s Meijer LPGA Classic
- Ashok joined the LPGA Tour after spending the 2016 season on the Ladies European Tour, where she earned victories at the Qatar Ladies Open and the Hero Women’s Indian Open
- Moriya Jutanugarn is playing in her fifth Walmart NWA, with a best finish of T4 in 2016
- Jutanugarn is looking for her first LPGA victory; she has finished fourth three times, including at this tournament in 2016
- Amy Yang, who is in solo fourth, is playing in her ninth Walmart NWA; she lost in a playoff to Yani Tseng in 2011
“She made it look easy out there. Nothing special – just birdied every hole almost!” - Michelle Wie, on playing with So Yeon Ryu and watching her shoot a 10-under 61
“I know this golf course is gettable, but that’s playing some really great golf. So there was a little bit of pressure to go shoot a low number, and I still feel like I did that.”- Stacy Lewis, on So Yeon Ryu