FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Women’s professional golf is a fixture in the state of Arkansas, and the Razorback women’s golf team is privileged to be a part of it.
Joining the Razorbacks at one of their home courses – Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers an international field of LPGA Tour professionals take part in the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. The week-long championship included a variety of community events, Pro-Am play and three days of LPGA competition.
The Razorbacks are currently the only Southeastern Conference team whose course is hosting an LPGA event this year and are one of just a handful of major college programs with an event on their home state.
In addition, the Razorbacks compete all season to qualify for two of the Monday play-in spots for the championship. Since the tournament begin in 2007, the Razorbacks have been in the field.
The first season of the tournament then junior Stacy Lewis was granted a sponsor’s exemption. Lewis led the field after round one but heavy rains forced the cancellation of the event and no official winner was declared.
Lewis was back the following year but as a professional with Razorback teammates Lucy Nunn and Kristin Ingram taking part in the Monday qualifier. Lewis would finish 49th overall in the first official tournament.
Lewis bettered her finish in 2009 to 21st overall and for the first time in program history, Arkansas advanced a player out of the Monday qualifier. Kelli Shean and Kristin Ingram both competed with Shean moving on to play Friday and Saturday. She missed the cut for Sunday’s final round.
Shean’s play as a junior coupled with her performance in the collegiate schedule earned her the sponsor’s exemption in 2010. Corinna Rees and Victoria Vela took part in the Monday qualifier. Lewis finished tied for ninth overall as the only Razorback to make it to Sunday’s play.
Razorback Emily Tubert earned the sponsor’s exemption in 2011 and made the cut. The Burbank, Calif., native tied for 48th overall in an amateur appearance at the event. Emma Lavy and Vela took part in the Monday qualifier for the Razorbacks.
The following year, Tubert again earned the sponsor’s exemption while Lavy played on Monday. Lewis tied for 19th overall in 2012.
Lewis moved up the leaderboard in 2013 tying for fourth place overall. Razorback newcomer Gabriela Lopez had the sponsor’s exemption while Lavy made her third appearance in the Monday qualifier. She was joined by freshman Summar Roachell.
Last year was a break out year for Lewis. The Woodlands, Texas, native won the tournament – her first victory in the Natural State. Lopez and Tubert were both granted sponsor’s exemptions with Lopez making the cut to Sunday and finishing tied for 57th overall. Roachell and sophomore Regina Plasencia played on Monday.
This season, Lewis returns to defend her title while Lopez looks to improve on last year’s finish. Plasencia and sophomore Samantha Marks take part in Monday’s qualifier with the hopes of moving on to the weekend.
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 (Unofficial winner Stacy Lewis)*
*Event was rained out/not completed
2008-Seon Hwa Lee
RAZORBACKS AT THE EVENT
2014-Gabriela Lopez, Emily Tubert
2008-Lucy Nunn, Kristin Ingram
2009-Kelli Shean (made cut), Kristin Ingram
2010-Corinna Rees, Victoria Vela
2011-Emma Lavy, Victoria Vela
2013-Emma Lavy, Summar Roachell
2014-Summar Roachell, Regina Plasencia
2015-Regina Plasencia, Samantha Marks
2011-Lewis, T8th; Tubert, T48th
2012-Lewis, T19; Tubert DNC
2013-Lewis, T4; Lopez DNC
2014-Lewis, 1st; Lopez T57; Tubert DNC