Following a two-week hiatus, the LPGA Tour returns to action with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. The 17th playing of the tournament in Rogers, Arkansas will see many of the top-ranked players well-rested, having enjoyed a break after the grueling summer stretch. For the two dozen players who competed in the Solheim Cup, just six players who competed on behalf of the U.S. and European teams are making the long journey from Spain to Arkansas. Here’s a look at some of the featured groups that will tee it up at Pinnacle Country Club beginning Friday, including some of the stars of the Solheim Cup.
Friday, 8:32 a.m. - Atthaya Thitikul/Lydia Ko/Danielle Kang
Defending champion Atthaya Thitikul returns to Arkansas in search of her first win of the season. The reigning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year has enjoyed a consistent season with nine top 10s on the year thus far including a tie for seventh in her last start at the Portland Classic. En route to her victory last season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship she matched the tournament’s 18-hole scoring record with a second round, 10-under par 61. After 54 holes she was tied with Danielle Kang, who she defeated on the second playoff hole for her second career win. Thitikul will play alongside Kang during the opening rounds of this year’s event in Arkansas. Kang, who finished runner-up last year, is coming off her fourth appearance for the U.S. Team at the Solheim Cup. She has three top 10s on the season and remains in search of her first victory of the year. While she’s ranked second this season in putting, she has dropped from No. 38 on Tour in Greens in Regulation last season to No. 124 this year. Lydia Ko is the third member of this group, who like her playing partners, is also in search of her first victory of the year. Ko, who won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2016, will be looking for a spark this week as she’s coming off a missed cut in her last start on the KLPGA. Her last worldwide top 10 came on the Ladies European Tour in May.
Friday, 1:21 p.m.* - Cheyenne Knight/Stacy Lewis/Georgia Hall
A trio of players who made the trip from Spain to Arkansas will be grouped together for the opening rounds of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship with U.S. Team member Cheyenne Knight grouped with her captain Stacy Lewis along with Team Europe’s Georgia Hall. The biggest challenge facing these players this week will be managing the fatigue and jet lag that comes with making the long trip from Spain after an action packed week. Knight, who earned 2 ½ points for the Americans in her Solheim Cup debut, will look to use her strong showing as a springboard as she’s struggled on Tour in recent weeks with three missed cuts in her last four starts. She finished tied for 12th last season in Arkansas. Lewis, who has twice won in Arkansas, would never miss a chance to return to the event which has a special relationship with her alma mater, the University of Arkansas. She’ll no doubt have a busy week with frequent media requests which the U.S. Solheim Cup captain has become quite familiar with juggling in recent months. Hall, who didn’t have her best game in Spain, having earned just 1 ½ points for the European team, has had an up and down season. She got off to a strong start with five worldwide top 10s in her first six starts of the year but hasn’t been on her top form in recent months. She finished T14 in her last start at the Portland Classic.
Friday, 1:32 p.m.* - Lexi Thompson/Leona Maguire/Yuka Saso
Lexi Thompson has found a spark late in the season and will look to keep that momentum rolling as she returns to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship where she made her tournament debut during her rookie season back in 2012. Thompson is coming off a T19 in her last start at the Kroger Queen City Championship, her best finish of the season, and a strong showing at the Solheim Cup where she secured three points for the American side. She’s twice finished in the top 10 in Arkansas including most recently a tie for eighth in 2021. Thompson will play alongside Leona Maguire, who also had a solid showing at the Solheim Cup having earned three points for the European Team. Maguire, who is already a winner this season at the Meijer LPGA Classic, has four more top 10s on the year. She’s competed in Arkansas just once before when she finished 77th in 2020. Major champion Yuka Saso is the third member of this group and will be arriving at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship well rested and on form. She finished tied for fifth in her last start in at the Kroger Queen City Championship, one of five top 10s she’s racked up in her last 10 starts. She’s made two prior starts in Arkansas where she was tied for fourth in 2021.