Skip to main content

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Preview, Pairings, and Much More

A big congratulations goes out to So Yeon Ryu for winning the Meijer LPGA Classic. Ryu, who shot a final round five under par 67, was challenged throughout the back nine by several players but kept her cool and outplayed them all down the stretch. It was her 6th win on the LPGA tour. 

Image result for walmart nw arkansas Championship logo

This week the LPGA moves to the state of Arkansas for the playing of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. This tournament has always been known to produce very low scores and last year was no exception. So Yeon Ryu started the final round with a 5 stroke lead and held off a charging Amy Yang (who shot a final round 64) and won by two strokes over Yang and Moriya Jutanugarn. 

Image result for so yeon ryu wins walmart
So Yeon Ryu's blistering 2nd round -10 under par 61 was the key to her 2017 title.

This will be tournament #17 of 32 on the 2018 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Race to the CME Globe:  500 points
Course:  Pinnacle Country Club
Location:  Rogers, Arkansas
Defending Champion:  So Yeon Ryu
Winning Score: 65-61-69 = 195 (-18)

Final Field:  144 players

Format:  54 holes
Par:  36/35 = 71
Yardage:  6,331
Purse: $2,000,000

Image result for gatorade 17th hole
The 17th hole at the Pinnacle Country Club is considered the loudest hole on tour.

My strength of field rating is a very solid 78.5% (up significantly from 69% last year). This is the 3rd strongest non Major Championship field of the year so far. Forty-four of the top fifty players from the LPGA Priority List, and 19 of the top 25 players from the Rolex World Rankings will be teeing it up. Top players in this week's field include: Inbee Park, Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, So Yeon Ryu, and Minjee Lee.
Players skipping the event this week include: Brooke Henderson, Sei Young Kim, and In Gee Chun.

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the television times:
June 22 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM ET 
June 23 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET 
June 24 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET

Players Most Likely to Win: (Top players in the field)
1- Inbee Park - When she tees it up, she's a threat.
2- Ariya Jutanugarn - Has been the best player on tour this year by a wide margin.
3- Lexi Thompson - Coming off two consecutive top tens. 

Players to Watch Out For: (I'm feeling it this week)
1- Caroline Masson - has been the hottest player on tour whose name is not Jutanugarn.
2- So Yeon Ryu - Could she win back to back events?
3- Jessica Korda - Can she join Ariya Jutanugarn as a two time winner this year?

Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
1- Azahara Munoz - Has never won a stroke play tournament but is playing her best golf in a long time.
2- Nelly Korda - Has contended several times this year.
3- Nasa Hataoka - Has done everything but win.

Other Tidbits:
With the cancellation of the tournament in Malaysia, the LPGA has now completed exactly one half of its 2018 schedule. There has been 15 different winners in the first 16 tournaments.

So Yeon Ryu's win was the 5th this year for a player from South Korea. Players from the USA have won four times and Thailand has won three.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
So Yeon Ryu jumps back into the top five, moving up a notch from #6 to #5. Caroline Masson makes the biggest move leaping up from #46 to #36. Azahara Munoz rises from #53 to #47, and Jacqui Concolino jumps up from #76 to #69.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Ariya Jutanugarn continues to be the runaway leader with 2,515 points. Her sister Moriya is second with 1,680. Third place at this time belongs to Inbee Park with 1,580.  They are followed by Minjee Lee (1,509) and Jin Young Ko (1,356). The top five finishers will control their own fate and a win at the CME Group Tour Championship will guarantee them the one million dollar bonus.

Who's Hot:
Caroline Masson has five top ten finishes in her last seven starts.
Su Oh has two top tens, four top twenties, and five top twenty-five finishes in her last five starts.

Who's Not:
Ilhee Lee has missed eight consecutive cuts. Alison Lee has missed her last seven.

This Week's Trivia Question: 
1) In the eleven years that this tournament has been played we have had ten different winners. Who was the only player to win twice?

For the answer to this week's trivia press here.

UPDATE: 6/19/18 - Leticia Ras-Anderica and Dylan Kim (a) are the Monday local qualifiers.

Here are the final results:

1 Nasa Hataoka -21
2 Austin Ernst -15
3 Ryann O'Toole -13
3 Sandra Gal -13
3 Ally McDonald -13
3 Brittany Altomare -13
3 Lexi Thompson -13
3 Minjee Lee -13
9 Haeji Kang -12
9 Jin Young Ko -12
9 Lydia Ko -12
9 Anna Nordqvist -12
9 Cristie Kerr -12
9 Mariah Stackhouse -12
15 Moriya Jutanugarn -11
15 Mirim Lee -11
15 Celine Boutier -11
18 Pornanong Phatlum -10
18 Jeong Eun Lee -10
18 Lizette Salas -10
18 Thidapa Suwannapura -10
22 Yu Liu -9
22 Sher. Santiwiwatthanaphong -9
22 Stacy Lewis -9
22 Shanshan Feng -9
22 So Yeon Ryu -9

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.  They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog. Tournament results will be posted here at the end of each round. Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found on the right side of this page (or on pull down menu on mobile website).


Popular posts from this blog

LPGA Player Profile - Natalie Gulbis

The player I have chosen this time around, may very well be in the twilight of her career, but has been a crowd favorite for many years. I have chosen:

Born: 1/7/83 (36 years old)
Hometown: Sacramento Calif.
Resides: Lake, Las Vegas, Nev.
Rookie Year: 2002

Natalie has won once on the LPGA tour:

2007 Evian Masters

 Natalie has had many of her best finishes in Major Championships!

Best Finishes in Major Championships:
ANA Inspiration - Finished 3rd in 2006KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Finished 5th in 2005U.S. Women's Open - Finished 4th in 2005Ricoh British Open - Finished 9th in 2013The Evian Championship - Finished 52nd in 2013 (It was not a Major Championship when she won this event).

Career Stats:   (Updated through the 2018 season)

329 career starts238 cuts made (72.3%)37 top tens (11.2%)Has $4,898,508 in career earnings through the 2018 season (67th on the all time LPGA career money list).

Other Career Highlights: A three time U.S. Solheim Cup Team member (2005, 2…

My Top Ten LPGA Blogs of All-Time

Let me start out today by saying that I am looking forward to next week when the LPGA resumes it's schedule for real this time. They will play four consecutive weeks before the next break that will take them back to the USA. 
Needless to say with all the off time, I have been running out of things to write about. 
This week is the 9th anniversary of my blogging about the LPGA!

Those of you that have been with me from the beginning will remember that the first 3 years I blogged for Mostly Harmless. I created Tony's LPGA Report in 2013.

Over that period of time I have published over 750 blogs. Most have turned out to be quite successful, some have fallen flat. But one thing that you can be sure of is that I have always tried my best to be the "go to" resource for up-to-date and accurate news about the LPGA.

I recently went back through all of my blogs and made a list of the ten most popular. The results were quite surprising. It seems like the pieces that I spend the most t…

Most Popular Photos of the Year - 2018

1/24/19 Bonus photos added at bottom of page.

As many of my readers know, my wife and I go to quite a few LPGA tournaments each year. Since 2009 we have gone to almost 60 events, including two in Scotland (St. Andrews being our favorite), and 8 Canadian Opens.

I do all the writing on here, and my wife (who is a schoolteacher) is my proofreader and takes many of the photos. Neither of us are professional photographers, but once in a while we get lucky and capture a moment that is very popular with my viewers.

Below I have reposted the most popular photos of 2018. I based this on the number of website hits, and the number of comments each photo received. Some came as quite a surprise to me, as when they were taken I was not expecting such a reaction.


LPGA Qualifying Tournament 2018 Final Stage - The Q-Series

The final stage of the LPGA qualifying tournament, the Q-Series, will begin this week.
A field of 102 players will be teeing it up.

At the 2017 CME Group Tour Championship, the LPGA first announced that Q-Series will replace LPGA Qualifying School Final Stage, which was previously held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

Instead of 90 holes like the old Final Stage, the new Q-Series will be 144 holes. Players will compete in two, four-day tournaments with cumulative scores over the eight rounds for a $150,000 purse, which will be distributed at the end of the eight rounds.

The LPGA will debut the new Q-Series at the historic Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina, which has hosted several prestigious tournaments including the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. 
The first week of the LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will be played on the George and Tom Fazio-designed Pinehurst Course No. 6 from Oct. 24-27, while the Q-Series will conclude on the Rees Jon…

Michelle Wie Gets Engaged!

Michelle Wie announced on Instagram last night that she is engaged to marry Jonnie West, the Golden State Warriors' director of basketball operations.

Jonnie is the son of NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West.

Wie, 29, a Punahou School and Stanford graduate, is a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour. West, 30, played basketball at West Virginia, his father’s alma mater. Wie, who has been recovering from hand surgery in October, is expected to play in the Lotte Championship, April 17-20, at Ko Olina.

This Week's Trivia Question:
Who was the only LPGA player to play in 30 events in 2018?

For the answer tothis week's trivia question press here.

KPMG Women's PGA Championship Preview

Congratulations go out to Anna Nordqvist for successfully defending her ShopRite Classic title. She came from behind, shooting a final round 64, which turned out to be one stroke better than runner-up Haru Nomura.

This week the LPGA travels to the state of Washington for the the playing of the KMPG Women's PGA Championship. This is the second Major Championship of the season. It is also the start of an extremely important part of the 2016 LPGA schedule that will include 3 Major Championships and the UL International Crown in the next 8 weeks.

This tournament was won last year in run-away fashion, when Inbee Park smoked the field by 5 strokes. She has won this championship 3 years in a row, and will be trying for a very rare four-peat. However, a recent injury to her thumb, will make that highly unlikely.

This will be tournament #16 of 33 on the 2016 LPGA schedule.
This will also be Major Championship #2 of 5 to be played in 2016.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Sahalee Country Club

LPGA Announces its 2019 Schedule!

The LPGA officially announced its 2019 schedule today, and it well worth the wait!

Here are the highlights:
1- The schedule features 34 events (33 official + The Solheim Cup). There were 33 last year (32 + UL International Crown).

2- The season will start one week earlier than last year, and kick off with two new tournaments.

3- There are a total of four tournaments:
     a) Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions (Jan 17-20)
     b) Vic Open (Feb 7-10)
     c) Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (July 17-20)
     d) BMW Ladies Championship (October 24-27)

     Tournaments that are no longer on the LPGA schedule:
     a) Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic (Pure Silk will be sponsoring the Virginia Event)
     b) LPGA Volvic Championship
     c) LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship
     d) Blue Bay LPGA

     There will be another tournament announced at a later date, that will take place Nov 14-17.

4- Will feature a record setting $70.55 million in prize money (up from 65.35 last year).

5- There w…