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Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Preview, Pairings, and Much More

Before I get started I want to give a big congratulations to Hannah Green for winning the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. See my full recap here.

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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. Nasa Hataoka blew away the field by six strokes on her way to a new tournament record of twenty-one under par. What makes that number even more remarkable is the fact that this is just a 54 hole tournament.

Image result for Nasa Hataoka wins walmart nw arkansas championship
Nasa Hataoka holds up the winning trophy.
This will be tournament #17 of 32 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the Key Details:
Course:  Pinnacle Country Club
Location:  Rogers, Arkansas
Defending Champion:  Nasa Hataoka
Winning Score: 64-65-63 =191 (-21)

History: This tournament started in 2007

Final Field:  144 players

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

Race to the CME Globe:  500 points
Aon Risk/Reward Challenge Hole:  16th (Par 4)

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 solid 76% (down from 78.5% last year). This is a pretty strong field considering that this year it follows a major championship. Forty-two of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 38 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The field will be led by top ten players: Jin-Young Ko, Sung Hyun Park, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Brooke Henderson, Ariya Jutanugarn, and Inbee Park. Top players skipping the event this week include: Lexi Thompson, Jeongeun Lee6, and Nelly Korda.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the Television Times:
June 28 - GC 12:00 PM-2:30 PM ET 
June 29 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET 
June 30 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET

Players Most Likely to Win: (Top players in the field)
1- Jin Young Ko - Hanging on to the top spot by a very narrow margin.
2- Sung Hyun Park - A win here would put her back on top.
3- Minjee Lee - A win here could put her on top.

Players to Watch Out For: (I'm feeling it this week)
1- Nasa Hataoka - Defending champion comes in on top of her game.
2- So Yeon Ryu - Has won here before.
3- Danielle Kang - Has been playing good every week.

Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
1- Brittany Altomare - Always plays well here.
2- In Gee Chun - Has she really become a longshot?
3- Maria Fassi - Just a 54 hole event. If she has a good first round.......

Other Tidbits:
Nelly Korda becomes the first (and only) LPGA player to record eight top ten finishes this year.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Lots of movement this week. Sung Hyun Park makes the most important move, jumping up 2 spots to the No. 2 position. Nelly Korda moves into the top ten this week, rising up from No. 12 to No. 10. Hannah Green makes the biggest move this week vaulting up from No. 114 to No. 29. Mirim Lee rises up from No. 98 to No. 78. We also had some huge moves further down the chart as Mel Reid catapults from No. 325 to No. 107, and Lauren Stephenson, who started the LPGA season at No. 816, soars up another 65 spots to No. 174.

Race to the CME Globe:   (Top 60 point earners to compete for $1.5 million first place prize).
Jin Young Ko continues to lead with 2,359 points. She is followed by Brooke Henderson with 1,945 and Minjee Lee with1,824. Jeongeun Lee6 with 1,806 and Lexi Thompson with 1,751 round out the top five.

Aon Risk Reward Challenge:   (1 million dollars)
Lee-Anne Pace leads with a score of -0.875. She is followed closely by Ariya Jutanugarn with -0.786. Lydia Ko is currently in third place with a score of -0.727.

Who's Hot:
So Yeon Ryu has three consecutive top ten finishes.

Who's Not:
In Gee Chun and Austin Ernst have both failed to record a top twenty finish in their last ten starts.

This Week's Trivia Question:
Who is the only American player to win this tournament?

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

UPDATE: Muni He (67) and Dylan Kim (68) were the Monday qualifiers.

Here are the final results:
1 Carlota Ciganda -13
1 Sung Hyun Park -13
3 Danielle Kang -11
3 Hyo Joo Kim -11
3 Daniela Darquea -11
3 Brittany Altomare -11
3 Jin Young Ko -11
3 Inbee Park -11
3 Linnea Strom -11
10 Ashleigh Buhai -10
10 Jasmine Suwannapura -10
12 Aditi Ashok -9
12 Jenny Shin -9
12 Azahara Munoz -9
12 Paula Creamer -9
12 Sher.Santiwiwatthanaphong -9
17 Ryann O'Toole -8
17 Mi Jung Hur -8
17 Gaby Lopez -8
17 Anna Nordqvist -8
17 Amy Yang -8
17 In Gee Chun -8
17 Lauren Kim -8
17 So Yeon Ryu -8
17 Lizette Salas -8
17 Ariya Jutanugarn -8
27 Katherine Kirk -7
27 Austin Ernst -7
27 Nicole Broch Larsen -7
27 Mi Hyang Lee -7
27 Tiffany Chan -7
27 Louise Ridderstrom -7
27 Jeong Eun Lee -7
27 Maria Torres -7
27 Minjee Lee -7
27 Annie Park -7
27 Giulia Molinaro -7
27 Pavarisa Yoktuan -7
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).


  1. Tony, could explain how Lexi Thompson could lead Minjee Lee in world rankings, place higher than her in PGA yet Lee passes her in World Rankings? Thanks.

    1. There is actually a logical explanation for that. The Rolex Rankings are based on a rolling 104 week period. So if you are playing a tournament this week that result count, but the result from 2 years ago is dropped. Apparently lexi had a solid finish that was dropped and Minjee did not.


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