ROGERS, Ark. – Rain delays and changing conditions were the topics of discussion in first round action of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in Rogers, Ark., Friday.
University of Arkansas women’s golf teammates Gabriela Lopez and Samantha Marks battled all of it shooting 73 and 75, respectively, in the first round. The total delay for the day was four hours and 13 minutes.
The morning tee times went out as scheduled with Marks teeing off first. The Maitland, Fla., native opened birdie-birdie, a noticeable improvement over her bogey-bogey start on those same holes in the Monday qualifier. On the first hole, Marks hit a solid tee shot and put her second shot pin high within a foot of the cup. She sank that for her first birdie.
The second hole, a long par five, saw Marks again hit well from the tee box and then drop her second shot on the right side of the fairway about 100 yards out. She flew her third shot onto the green, about a foot away from the hole and she rolled it in for the birdie.
Marks struggled on the fourth hole with a double as her scorecard moved back to even and she would add bogeys on seven and 10. Marks added a double on 13 after the first rain delay but rallied to finish strong with five consecutive par holes to count 75.
Lopez opened her round with five consecutive par holes and was steady out of the gate. She turned one over after a bogey on the sixth hole.
The Mexico City, Mexico, native made the turn and was standing over a birdie putt on the 10th green when the horn sounded for the first time. She marked her ball and returned to the clubhouse for a two-plus hour delay.
Players returned to the course and Lopez showed that the delay didn’t bother her as she drained the short putt to move back to even. Despite that momentum, the Razorback junior bogeyed the 11th hole, a short par three playing 180 yards. Lopez’s tee shot was right of the green but she mis-hit her chip and was still about 12 feet away for the par putt. She tapped it and it scooted left just past the cup.
Lopez would shoot par on the 12th and 13th holes and rallied on the 14th hole moving back to even with her second birdie on the day. The 14th hole is a par five, 549-yard hole over the water. Lopez hit her tee shoot to the 200 yard mark to the right side of the fairway.
As player made their way to the green, the temps dropped and the wind changed. She it her second shot way over the pin to the flat part of the large green, leaving herself a downhill putt. She just tapped her first putt attempt and it looked as though she didn’t hit it hard enough but he ball continued to roll until it stopped close to the pin. She two-putted for the birdie.
After a par on 15 and two shots on the 16th hole, the horn sounded for the second time. Lopez was right of the green after missing her second shot. She sat through a two hour delay and returned to the course counting a bogey on the hole.
Lopez finished with a bogey on 18 as well after her third shot on the long par five hit the pin and bounced about 30 feet beyond the hole. She three-putted to finish her round.
Former Razorback Stacy Lewis played her way through 14 holes before play was stopped for darkness. The Woodlands, Texas, native was three-under and has the sixth-ninth holes remaining in her round.
Inside The Ropes
Gabriela Lopez 73 +2
Samantha Marks 75 +4
Stacy Lewis -3 through 14 holes
Mi Jung Hur -7 through 13 holes
Azahara Munoz 65 -6
Brittany Lincicome 65 -6
Anna Nordqvist 65 -6
Gabriela Lopez 2 birdies 4 bogies
Samantha Marks 2 birdies 2 bogies 2 doubles
Final round one results not available
Saturday tee times are not available but Marks and Lopez will have afternoon times while Lewis will finish in the morning and start round two after that.
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