ROGERS, Ark. — Arkansas junior Kelli Shean turned in an impressive 4-under 67 Saturday to make the cut at the LPGA’s P&G beauty NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers. Thanks to a birdie on the closing hole, Shean is 1-over par for the tournament, which proved to be one shot above the cut line of 2-over par. At the conclusion of her round, Shean was right on the projected cut line of 1-over par.
“I hope it’s good enough to make the cut.”, said Shean following her round. “I gave everything I had out there today. Some of the putts dropped and it was so much fun being out there with my teammates as everyone created t-shirts last night and all the fans out here, it’s just unbelievable.”
Shean, who began her 2nd round on the 10th tee, birdied the par 4 12th, her third of the round, and par 5 14th, her fifth, as she made the turn at 2-under par for the day. A birdie on the par 4 1st, her tenth, moved her to 3-under for the day until she gave it back with a bogey on the par 3 3rd, her thirteenth. A birdie on the par 4 5th, her fifteenth, moved her back to 3 under on the round. She had birdie opportunities on the 7th and 8th holes, her sixteenth and seventeenth holes of the round, but both putts stopped next to the cup, leaving tap-in pars.
Needing a birdie on the last to give herself a chance to make the cut which at the time was projected to be 1-over, Shean came up big. After her tee shot found the bunker on the left side of the fairway 97 yards from the uphill pin, Shean hit a wedge shot that landed on the back of the green before spinning back to within 12 feet of the cup. Facing a slightly uphill putt running against the grain, the Cape Town, South Africa native confidently stroked a perfect putt that rolled right into the heart of the cup much to her relief as members of the crowd broke into a hog call.
Shean is the first Razorback player to make an LPGA cut after going through the qualifying process, which she won Tuesday.
“This is amazing.”, said Shean after learning she had made the cut. “My goal was to make the cut and after the first round it didn’t look too promising. But I did my best today and it paid off. This has been an unbelievable experience but I have another round to go and I plan on doing my best.”
“It’s so awesome”, said Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. “We’ve got the whole crew out here today and cheered her on and she just played some solid golf in some pretty windy conditions. Hopefully that will be good enough to get her in and play tomorrow. That’s one of her big goals is to make the cut. Now she can go out tomorrow and shoot some low numbers.”
It was a split for former Razorbacks as Stacy Lewis, the unofficial champion the tournament’s first year, also shot a 4-under 67 which moved her into a tie for 24th at 2-under par while Lucy Nunn shot her second 4-over 75 to miss the cut at 8-over for the tournament.
“It was a good comeback today for Stacy because this tournament means a lot to her,”said Estes. “She’s put herself in a good position and she’s capable of doing what it takes tomorrow to get into the top ten or better. Lucy played well and did a lot of good things but it’s still a new environment for her being on the pro tours but it’s a great way to test her game and it will make her a player. I’m really proud of all of them.”
Shean, who is tied for 56th, will tee off at7:55am on the 10th tee with. Lewis, who tied for 24th and 7 shots off the lead, will tee off at 7:55am on the first tee.
Song-Hee Kim has a two shot lead entering the final round at 9-under par following a 3-under 68 Saturday. Tee times for Sunday’s final round were moved up 30 minutes and the Golf Channel’s live coverage of the final round will now air from 11:30am until 2:30pm CT. The weather could once again be a factor for the tournament’s final round as the forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of thunderstorms beginning at 10 a.m.