Northwest Arkansas returned to the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s schedule in 2007 hosting the Walmart Northwest Arkansas LPGA Championship at Pinnacle Country Club.
Arkansas has been home several events beginning with the Hardscrabble Women’s Invitational Oct. 17-21, 1950, in Fort Smith, Ark. The event was won by Patty Berg.
The Hardscrabble Open returned to Fort Smith in 1952 and was followed by the Arkansas Open at the Country Club of Hot Springs, in Hot Springs, Ark., in 1956.
The LPGA added the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship in 2007. The commitment allows the Arkansas women’s golf team and the Northwest Arkansas community to enjoy the sport at its best.
The inaugural event in 2007 was spectacular for Arkansas fans. Then junior Stacy Lewis earned a sponsor’s exemption to play in the event and she blistered the course shooting a 65 in the first round.
Eight inches of rain, however, washed away Lewis’ “win” as the tournament was declared a “non-event”. Lewis was awarded the trophy and invited back for the 2008 event.
The second year of the event saw the tournament move from the early fall to the July 4th weekend. Hot temperatures and stormy weather again effected play but athletes were able to complete three rounds.
Lewis was again in the hunt early finishing 49th after three rounds. University of Arkansas women’s golfers Lucy Nunn and Kristin Ingram were given a pair of qualifying spots and Nunn made the most of her opportunity finishing as the low qualifier with a two-under 70 on Monday before the event. Nunn battled nerves and tough conditions in the first round but rallied with a second round 74. She did not make Sunday’s cut.
The 2009 season saw Nunn receive an exemption for the event while Kelli Shean and Kristin Ingram had the chance to play their way in. Shean made the cut and was invited to play in the Friday-Sunday event. Former Razorback Lewis tied for 21st overall with a 211 (73-67-71).
Corinna Rees and Victoria Vela both earned invitations to the 2010 tournament. Rees counted a 78 while Vela scored 82 as neither made the cut. Teammate incoming senior Kelli Shean earned a sponsor’s exemption and played Friday and Saturday with rounds of 74-73.
This year, Tubert again was granted an exemption and Lavy will take part in the Monday qualifier.
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