Arkansas women’s golf, both past and present, will be well-represented yet another year at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by Procter & Gamble. The LPGA tournament is back for its 16th year (if counting the rainout in 2007), hosted at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers. Senior Kajal Mistry has received a sponsor exemption for the event, while Hog alumnae Maria Fassi (2015-19), Stacy Lewis (2004-08), Gaby Lopez (2012-16), Brooke Matthews (2017-21) and Alana Uriell (2014-18) have made their return to Northwest Arkansas.
“[The NW Arkansas Championship] has been a vital part of our program since this event came to Northwest Arkansas,” said head coach Shauna Taylor. “More importantly, it’s about showcasing our home and showing our community engagement and the pride of hosting such a great event and getting the community to rally around and showcase our home… People in the surrounding areas can see what an amazing place Pinnacle Country Club is and what a special place Northwest Arkansas is around this event and year long.”
On Friday, Mistry will be a part of the morning group, while the professional Hogs are set to play in the afternoon. Fassi and Matthews, as well as Lewis and Lopez are paired up in the same groups.
Friday’s official tee-times and groups are as follows:
Saturday’s official tee-times:
Mistry is playing in her second NW Arkansas Championship after having qualified last year. At the championships in 2021, Mistry carded a 77 in round one and a 73 in round two. The Johannesburg, South Africa native was tabbed a Golfweek All-American Honorable Mention and All-SEC First Team selection. Mistry led the Hogs in scoring average (73.18) and par or better rounds (14), while winning the MountainView Collegiate with a career-low 206 (68-67-71).
Fassi is back in the Natural State for her sixth, fourth as a professional, NW Arkansas Championship. Last year, Fassi finished in a tie for 15th after carding a 208 (68-67-73). The Mexico product is currently ranked at No. 67 in the CME Ranking, recently coming off a career-best third place finish at the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G. After winning the 2019 NCAA Championship, Fassi turned pro and is in her fourth year on tour. In 2021, Fassi made the cut in seven events and represented Mexico at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she tied for 23rd.
A staple player at the NW Arkansas Championship is Lewis who has played in all 15 editions of the event. The 13-time LPGA tour winner (two majors wins) is a two-time NW Arkansas Champion, winning the 2007 event that was rained out and the 2014 championship. Last season, Lewis tied for sixth with a 201 (67-68-66). Currently, Lewis is ranked No. 54 in the CME Rankings. Her best finish this season was when she teamed up with Fassi at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (69-65-67-59=260). Lewis has earned a myriad of accolades both at the professional and amateur level. At Arkansas, she become the first individual NCAA Champion, winning in 2007.
Lopez has captured the world’s attention after most recently picking up her third tour win in come-from-behind fashion at the Dana Open presented by Marathon. Ranked No. 25 in the CME Rankings, Lopez is playing some of the best golf in her career, as she is in her seventh year on tour. Lopez is back for her 10th NW Arkansas Championship, seventh as a professional. Her best finish at this event came in 2017, coming in at 10th with a 203 (68-68-67). As a Razorback, Lopez was the runner-up at the 2015 NCAA Championship.
LPGA rookie Matthews is playing in her first NW Arkansas Championship as a professional. The Rogers native, who grew up with Pinnacle Country Club in her backyard, has made the cut at the championship twice as an amateur, highlighted by last year finishing in 71st (67-70-74=211). In her final year at Arkansas last fall, Matthews broke the NCAA 54-hole scoring record, finishing 25 shots under par. Matthews’ best finish as a professional was at the Dow Great Lakes Invitational with a 264 (71-62-71-60).
In her first year on the LPGA tour, Uriell is playing in her sixth NW Arkansas Championship. Last season, Uriell logged a 71 in round one and a 69 in the second round. In 2021, Uriell made six cuts. Uriell’s season-best finish is 16th place, where she finished 8-under par (69-73-68-70) at the ITBC Classic presented by Barbasol. As a Razorback, Uriell was named a WGCA Second Team All-American in 2018 and two-time All-SEC selection.
Pinnacle Country Club – Rogers, Ark. – Par 71 – 6,548 yards
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