Danielle Kang had a roller coaster of a front nine during the final round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. After three birdies and two bogeys, it was not until No. 14 where she felt she could get back in contention. She sank an eagle and finished with three straight birdies to finish at -17.
“I actually rode off the momentum on making a long par putt on No. 13. And then 15 I left it short again. I tried to hit it hard, and then left it short,” said Kang. “Honestly, like 16, 17, 18, I was pretty dialed in. And I had a feeling that either I'm making eagle on 18 or it was going to be a playoff, so yeah, putting well, playing well.”
Kang was in the penultimate pairing with Hyo Joo Kim, who was not only in her group yesterday but is also a good friend. She said she felt more comfortable with another supporting voice close by. “We definitely had a blast out there,” said Kang. “We kept answering birdies to each other. [Kim] had a good time. And when she makes a bogey, she's like, down, so I try to lift her up as well. And she's going, ‘Come on, you can make this putt.’ And we both had a lot of fun.”
Overall, Kang is confident in what she was able to shoot on the final day. “I definitely finished well. I gave everything I got the last nine holes, so came up one shot short. Wish we could have gone to playoff, but I knew that Sung Hyun [Park] was going to have an iron in on the last hole,” said Kang. “But definitely playing well. My game is solid. I’ve finished a couple seconds, a couple fifths, thirds. I don't know what the scores are this year, but just keep knocking on those doors and hopefully I will get a win soon.”
INBEE PARK AND HYO JOO KIM COME UP SHORT
Two players from Republic of Korea finished in a tie for second with American Danielle Kang – Inbee Park carded a bogey-free 65 and was in a four-way tie for first at -17 as she walked off 18 green, then Hyo Joo Kim followed suit with a 65, missing a putt for eagle on 18. Both players are searching for their first win on the 2019 LPGA season.
“It's really fun to be in the contention in a golf tournament,” said Park, a 19-time winner on Tour. “That's where I think every golfer wants to be, and that's what we play for. I feel like my game was really, really good, just my putting wasn't falling this year. I'm probably hitting the ball better than when I was No. 1, but the putter is that important in the game, and yeah, it just hasn't been my club at the moment. But, yeah, hopefully it comes around and hopefully I can have some good putting.”
Kim fell short of her fourth-career win. “I had a really great front nine and had a great start. On the back nine, I had back-to-back-bogeys, but I came back with two back-to-back birdies,” said Kim, who has not won since her victory at the 2016 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. “My putting was perfect on the front, 100%. But there were a couple I left out there. Overall, I did my best.”
RYANN O’TOOLE HAS SIGHTS SET ON SOLHEIM AFTER IMPRESSIVE DISPLAY AT WALMART
Ryann O’Toole put together a bogey-free round on Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and shot seven birdies to jump up the leaderboard to end -15. She finished T6 but was happy with her overall performance in the final round.
“I'm striking it really well and I'm making putts. I definitely feel like I still left a lot out there today, so to finish a round 7 under thinking, ‘wow, it easily could have been 10,’ and to feel like I'm so close to having a win - I had this feeling last year. Last year I just ran out of holes. And I feel like the same thing happened again this year,” said O’Toole, who finished T3 at the 2018 tournament.
This year, O’Toole has extra motivation to shoot solid rounds in the coming weeks. “Solheim Cup is around the corner. I am not good on the point system. I'm just trying to show something.”
O’Toole has made one Solheim appearance in her LPGA Tour career. In 2011, Captain Rosie Jones selected the then LPGA rookie to represent Team USA, posting a 2-0-2 record in Ireland. As the summer stretch of tournaments continue, O’Toole said it is her goal to join her fellow Americans in Scotland this year.
“I mean, it's always on my mind. I feel like that's just - that atmosphere at Solheim is definitely what I hone into. I love the team play. Growing up playing other sports, I know how it goes,” said O’Toole. “I'm just trying to show - my game has been really close, like it has been knocking at the door, so I'm hoping that I can put just start putting some rounds together and show, like, ‘hey, I might be a hot pick,’ just to be a surprise.”
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Sung Hyun Park
- She hit nine of 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens
- Park is in her third season on the LPGA Tour; she is a seven-time winner on the LPGA Tour. Her most previous win came at this year’s HSBC Women’s World Championship
- This was Park’s 11th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she previously won the HSBC Women’s World Championship and has two additional runner-up finishes (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and Kia Classic)
- Park is the third multiple of the 2019 season, joining Jin Young Ko and Brooke Henderson
- With her win, Park earns $300,000; she has earned $734,266 this season and $4,628,226 for her career
- This was her third Walmart NWA Championship presented by P&G; her previous finishes were T19 in 2017 and T61 in 2018
- With her win, Park earns 500 points and is projected to move from seventh to second in the Race to CME Globe with 1,955 points
- She tied with So Yeon Ryu for 2017 Rolex Player of the Year honors and clinched the 2017 Louise Suggs Rolex Player of the Year Award with five events remaining on the schedule
- Became the first player to win Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year awards in the same year since Nancy Lopez in 2978
CME GROUP CARES CHALLENGE – SCORE 1 FOR ST. JUDE
The CME Group Cares Challenge is a season-long charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group will donate $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2019, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
No holes-in-one were made this week at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. There have been 16 made prior to the week and a total of $320,000 has been donated thus far in 2019.
LEADERS TOP 10 COMPETITIONThe LEADERS Top 10 competition awards a $100,000 bonus to the LPGA player with the most top-10 finishes through the completion of the event held immediately prior to the CME Group Tour Championship. In the event of a tie in total top-10 finishes, the award will go to the player with the most official wins, followed by most second-place finishes, third-place finishes, etc., until the tie is broken.
With a top-10 finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Danielle Kang (T2) tops the leaderboard with nine this season. Nelly Korda sits in solo second with eight finishes. Hyo Joo Kim, who finished T2 in Arkansas, now ties Brooke Henderson for third with seven top-10 finishes.