PRESSURE NOT GETTING TO LEWIS
Stacy Lewis returns to Arkansas and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G without a win since taking the title here in 2014. But the 2008 University of Arkansas graduate isn’t sweating that detail. In fact, she’s not worried about it at all.
“It’s pretty far in the back (of my mind) actually,” said Lewis on the pressure of winning again. “You know, I’ve had to answer this question over the last whatever, three years. I’m trying to play good golf. Like I said, the level of play is unbelievable. You have to play three great rounds to win a tournament. You can’t just play good one day anymore.”
Lewis has been playing solid this season, making the cut in all 11 of her events played and earning three top-10 finishes.
“Five years ago, you could play an okay round and still win, and it’s not there anymore. You have to play great,” Lewis explained. “I do feel like my game is getting better, though, it’s getting a lot closer. I just tried to take the pressure out of me and let’s try to get better every week and slowly doing little things better, and if, I think, you know, get a few putts to fall early, get some confidence there, because the ball striking has been there the last month or so.”
LOPEZ BACK IN HER SECOND HOME
Gaby Lopez may be the world’s top-ranked Mexican golfer, male or female, but at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, she is happily returning to what she calls her second home. The 2016 graduate of the University of Arkansas always cherishes her week in Northwest Arkansas.
“Mexico and Arkansas are in a very special place in my heart,” said Lopez, who finished her degree in sports management during her 2016 rookie season. “I’m telling you that just being able to represent Mexico and the University of Arkansas all over the place on Tour is such a blessing. I couldn’t be more proud to wear these colors, red, white, green. For me it’s such an honor to be here and to be next to the people I love, all the community that has supported me for the past five years.”
Lopez is one of five Razorbacks in this week’s field, joining 2008 graduate Stacy Lewis and Lopez’s teammates Regina Plasencia, Emily Tubert and Alana Uriell.
“It’s just really, really nice to have all of us together in one place, because we all dream of, you know, competing in the LPGA and now that we have the opportunity in our hometown it’s even more special,” said Lopez. “And being able to call the Hogs on No. 17, being able to – for me and Regina to represent Mexico and University of Arkansas at the same time and in the same place is amazing, I think.”
USA SOLHEIM CUP TEAM UPDATE
With the 2017 Solheim Cup quickly approaching, players hoping to represent the Stars and Stripes at Des Moines Golf and Country Club on Aug. 18-20 have to start making their moves. The top eight players in the USA Solheim Cup points standings as of the completion of the RICOH Women’s British Open on Aug. 6 will automatically qualify. They will be joined by the top two players from the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings not already qualified and two players selected by Captain Juli Inkster. Points are doubled at the five LPGA majors, and with three majors in the next six weeks, players have a prime opportunity to move into Team contention.
Four-time team member Michelle Wie currently holds the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot by just three points over six-time team member Angela Stanford. Danielle Kang, who is trying to make her first Solheim Cup team, trails Wie by 11.5 points, and also sits two spots behind Brittany Lincicome in the Rolex Rankings.
The current USA Solheim Cup Team standings are as follows, with players in bold competing this week in Arkansas:
Qualifying on points:
1. Lexi Thompson (612 points)
2. Stacy Lewis (386.5)
3. Gerina Piller (350.5)
4. Cristie Kerr (338.5)
5. Jessica Korda (299)
6. Brittany Lang (247)
7. Austin Ernst (227)
8. Michelle Wie (214)
Qualifying on Rolex Rankings:
Mo Martin (No. 37)
Brittany Lincicome (No. 40)
Outside looking in:
Angela Stanford (211 points)
Danielle Kang (202.5)
Lizette Salas (162.5)
Jennifer Song (134)
Marina Alex (128.5)
Alison Lee (124)
Paula Creamer (100.5)
Morgan Pressel (83)
“I think every rookie on Tour should be watching that movie. It should be a requirement before they come out, and to see the legacy that they’re following.” - Stacy Lewis, on the Founders Film
“Whenever you feel there is a storm in the middle of the way, we’ve got to learn how to be calm in the middle of the storm. It’s really easy to be calm when everything goes right, when everything is pink, when everything is happy! But whenever we are going through tough times, we have to feel cooler and feel this calm that it is going to go through and it’s not going to last forever.” - Gaby Lopez, giving advice to First Tee of NW Arkansas Course Reporters
NOTE: While 2017 marks the 11th playing of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, this is the 10th official competition. The inaugural tournament in 2007 was shorted to 18 holes due to rain delays, and is not counted among LPGA records and statistics as an official event.
- Stacy Lewis is the only player to make the cut in all nine official playings of this tournament; she also won the 2007 tournament as an amateur and a senior at the University of Arkansas
- Lewis’ average finish at the NWA Championship is 15.4; her worst finish was a T49 in 2008
- Lopez is playing in her fifth NWA Championship, with a best finish of T29 as an amateur in 2015