ROGERS, Ark. – The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and the University of Arkansas Women’s Golf Team announced a partnership today to guarantee one student-athlete a Sponsor’s Exemption in the 2015 and the 2016 LPGA events. In addition, two qualifying spots will be reserved for the Razorback Women’s Golf Team for the tournament’s qualifying event. The tournament is scheduled for June 20 – June 26 this year with the qualifier round taking place on Monday, June 20.
“Since the inaugural Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G in 2007, Razorback golfers have received a sponsorship exemption or Monday qualifier spots each year,” said Harry Hardy, tournament director. “This year, we’re making the partnership official by working with the University of Arkansas coaching staff to implement criteria formalizing the process of selection for the sponsor’s exemption and qualifier spots. Our hope is to not only give female college athletes the chance to excel on a professional level, but also make the University of Arkansas a more desirable college to up and coming golfers.”
The criteria for selection include team rankings and academic standing for the golfers. The top ranked University of Arkansas player as of May 1 will be eligible for the sponsor’s exemption. The qualified player must write an official letter requesting invitation and be in good academic standing with the University. The second and third best stroke averages from the team’s competitive season will have an opportunity to Monday qualify for the official LPGA event.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for student athletes at the University of Arkansas,” said Shauna Estes-Taylor, head coach of the Razorback Women’s Golf Team. “We are the only collegiate golf program in the country to have a guaranteed spot for their players in a professional tournament such as the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.”
The tournament’s title sponsor, Walmart, has supported the initiative as women’s empowerment is a key effort for the company.
“As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart believes it is our responsibility to help women realize their potential,” stated Gisel Ruiz, Executive Vice President of Walmart International People Division. “Helping these young women recognize their potential on the golf course and in life is certainly something we as a company take pride in and look forward to witnessing over the months ahead.”
Each year, the tournament has the opportunity to give out two sponsor’s exemptions. Past exemptions have included Stacy Lewis in 2007, when she played as an incoming senior at the University of Arkansas and unofficially won the event, which was shortened due to rain. In addition, former University of Arkansas golfer Emily Tubert has played in the event twice as a sponsor’s exemption, and in 2014 made her professional debut at the tournament.
The tournament has partnered with KNWA & Fox 24 to keep fans updated on the Road to #NWAChampionship. Viewers can tune in to Razorback Nation to find out who is leading the race throughout the spring season and follow the University of Arkansas Women’s Golf Team on its quest to compete in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Updates on the Razorback Women’s Golf Team are also available at www.razorbackwgolf.com.
The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G has become a premier stop on the LPGA Tour. On June 22-28, 144 of the world’s best LPGA professionals will tee it up at Pinnacle Country Club competing for a $2,000,000 purse and a chance to be named Champion of the 2015 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. For more information on the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, please visit www.nwachampionship.com.
Location Pinnacle Country Club; Rogers, Ark.
Coverage The Golf Channel
Tickets $25 daily/$50 wk
Purse $2 million
1st place $300,000
Inaugural Event 2007 | Unoff. winner Stacy Lewis*
*Event was rained out/not completed
2008 | Seon Hwa Lee
2009 | Jiyai Shin
2010 | Yani Tseng
2011 | Yani Tseng
2012 | Ai Miyazato
2013 | Inbee Park
2014 | Stacy Lewis
2015 | Na Yeon Choi
RAZORBACKS AT THE EVENT
2007 | Stacy Lewis
2008 | Stacy Lewis
2009 | Lucy Nunn
2010 | Kelli Shean
2011 | Emily Tubert
2012 | Emily Tubert
2013 | Gabriela Lopez
2014 | Gabriela Lopez, Emily Tubert
2015 | Gabriela Lopez
2007 | None
2008 | Lucy Nunn, Kristin Ingram
2009 | Kelli Shean (made cut), Kristin Ingram
2010 | Corinna Rees, Victoria Vela
2011 | Emma Lavy, Victoria Vela
2012 | Emma Lavy
2013 | Emma Lavy, Summar Roachell
2014 | Summar Roachell, Regina Plasencia
2015 | Samantha Marks
2007 | Rained Out
2008 | Stacy Lewis, 49
2009 | Stacy Lewis, 21
2010 | Stacy Lewis, T9
2011 | Stacy Lewis, T8 | Emily Tubert, T48
2012 | Stacy Lewis, T19 | Emily Tubert DNC
2013 | Stacy Lewis, T4 | Gabriela Lopez DNC
2014 | Stacy Lewis, 1 | Gabriela Lopez T57 | Emily Tubert DNC
2015 | Stacy Lewis, T3 | Gabriela Lopez T29 | Samantha Marks DNC