Following her third round at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, Chella Choi left Pinnacle Country Club “just happy, very happy,” having earned her best result of the 2022 season and her best finish at her favorite event on the LPGA Tour. Choi’s chase for her solo third-place finish didn’t start on Sunday morning however, but rather on her final hole during Saturday's second round.
“I really want to make a birdie last hole, because if I make a birdie, it’s my best score this year, so I really focus on my game,” Choi said after shooting her season-best round of 63. “But I little miss my second shot. Third shot I have chance for birdie putt, like 39 feet. I made it.”
After an average, 2-under, 69 opening round on Friday, Choi carded nine birdies on Saturday to put herself in a tie for fourth place alongside eight others. She set herself apart from the crowd on championship Sunday with eight more, ranking No. 1 in the field for birdies with a total of 20. Going into the final round just four strokes behind the leader, Choi drew confidence from her stellar second round, which was the second-lowest round this week after Atthaya Thitikul’s tournament record-tying 10-under, 61. “After play yesterday I have confidence, so I starting first hole I trying to make a birdie,” she said. “And I follow leading player, so I made a lot of birdie and I play really well today, so I'm happy.”
The secret to Choi’s success this week is her love for the course at Pinnacle Country Club, she said. The 14-year Tour veteran has played in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship 14 times, only missing the event in 2021, and has recorded five top-10 finishes. Her previous best finish at the event was a tie for sixth that came in 2014. Playing at a course that suits her game is what brings the Korean golfer back every year.
“My favorite golf course here because my driving is not too far, but course is very narrow, so I trying to focus on keep fairway and keep the green. I have a lot of chance out there, so a lot of made of birdie,” said Choi, who hit 32 of 39 fairways and 46 of 54 greens through three days of play. “It's very exciting. I have a lot of good memory here, four, five time top 10.”