#NWAChampionship Renews Support of Razorback Golf Program

After successful two-year execution of Road to the #NWAChampionship, tournament continues to guarantee one University of Arkansas Female Golfer opportunity to play in annual LPGA event

The Road to the #NWAChampionship has been renewed for the 2017 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, officials announce today. The program began in 2015 as a partnership between the University of Arkansas Women’s Golf Team and the LPGA tournament to guarantee the best performing student-athlete on the team a Sponsor’s Exemption in the professional event. In addition, two qualifying spots are reserved for the next best performing Razorback athletes in the tournament’s qualifier round. The tournament is scheduled for June 19 – 25 this year, with the official qualifier taking place on Monday, June 19.

The Road to the #NWAChampionship began in an effort to formalize the process of selection for the sponsor’s exemption and qualifier spots that historically have been given to Razorback athletes. The success of the program over the last two years has far surpassed expectations, tournament officials say.

“What began as a way for us to simply formalize a process that we have essentially been doing since the start of the event, has had a greater impact on the tournament than we expected,” said Harry Hardy, tournament director. “The Razorback athletes really buy into the competition aspect and work hard in order to earn those spots. Through this, we’ve seen more Razorback athletes in our tournament field than ever and more Razorback sports fans coming out to watch the tournament.”

In 2016, Razorback Freshman Maria Fassi secured the Sponsor’s Exemption with a 72.56 Scoring Average. Teammates Alana Uriell and Regina Plasencia earned the opportunity to play in the Monday qualifier event and each secured official spots into the field as well. The three student athletes were joined by former Razorbacks Stacy Lewis and Gaby Lopez, rounding out the total number of Razorbacks in the 2016 field to five. In 2015, then-student athlete Gaby Lopez earned the sponsor’s exemption with teammate Samantha Marks joining her in the field through the Monday qualifier.

“The Road to #NWAChampionship has become one of our favorite traditions on the team,” explains Shauna Estes-Taylor, University of Arkansas Head Women’s Golf Coach. “The process inspires much more than great golf—it gives us an opportunity to hone skills our players will need in the future like writing and resume building. We thank the tournament for their ongoing support which year after year proves invaluable to our program”

The criteria for selection include team rankings and academic standing for the golfers. The top ranked University of Arkansas player as of May 11 is 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.

Razorback sports fans can keep up to date with the Road to the #NWAChampionship by watching KNWA’s nightly news coverage.

Tickets for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G will go on sale March 1. For more information and tournament news, please visit www.nwachampionship.com

BITE NW Arkansas Relocating to 8th Street Market

The two-day food festival as part of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G will be first large scale event at new culinary venue in Downtown Bentonville on June 22 & 23

8th Street Market, one of Bentonville’s newest culinary destinations, will mark its opening in Northwest Arkansas by hosting BITE NW Arkansas, a two-day food festival now in its third year in the region.  BITE will take place June 22 & 23 as part of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.

Encompassing approximately 10 acres along 8th Street in the Bentonville Market District near the Bentonville Square, 8th Street Market will ultimately showcase culinary education, music and the arts, new restaurant and hospitality venues, and other specialized food and drink concepts. 

“8th Street Market will bring a truly unique culinary experience to Northwest Arkansas. We could not be more excited to be their inaugural signature event, and to partner with them in building upon the momentum of BITE NW Arkansas,” said Harry Hardy, event director. “Moving BITE to Bentonville is a part of our ongoing vision to expand our reach within the community, particularly as part of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. The unique qualities that 8th Street Market will bring as an event venue will enable us to grow attendance, and enhance experiences for our restaurant and brewery partners, sponsors and guests.”

After selling out two years in a row at the Walmart AMP, BITE NW Arkansas will once again include two nights of events to appeal to the entire community. Taste of NW Arkansas will take place Thursday, June 22, allowing event attendees the opportunity to discover and sample the area’s best restaurants, chefs and brands. Friday, June 23 will feature Beer & Burger Fest—a twist on a traditional beer festival highlighting local and national breweries in a fun atmosphere.

8th Street Market is home to Brightwater:  A Center for the Study of Food, a program of Northwest Arkansas Community College.  Brightwater represents one of the most comprehensive culinary arts and hospitality programs of its kind in the central United States.  Spring classes are now underway at Brightwater’s campus within 8th Street Market.

Glenn Mack, Brightwater’s executive director said, “Given all the culinary and hospitality growth throughout Northwest Arkansas and in Bentonville specifically, I think BITE NW Arkansas is a great way to help introduce 8th Street Market and Brightwater to the residents of the region. Brightwater and our students have been a part of BITE from its inception, and now that we share the site I’m sure our engagement will only grow in the future.”

In addition to Brightwater, Bentonville-based Bike Rack Brewery has announced that it will open an 8,000 square foot facility at 8th Street Market, its second location in Bentonville.  Beer will be brewed on site and sold for both on- and off-site consumption. Bike Rack will feature a 1,300-square-foot tap room with capacity for 90 people. 

“We are ecstatic that BITE NW Arkansas is moving to 8th Street Market and that our brewery will have the chance to help grow the impact of the event,” said Jeff Charlson, CEO and Partner, Bike Rack Brewing Company. “For two years BITE has paired great food with great beer, and that is authentic to the mission of Bike Rack and what I think we can expect to see at 8th Street Market in the long term.”

Tickets for BITE NW Arkansas will go on sale March 1 along with tickets to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Starting at just $30 for an individual, tickets are expected to sell out due to limited quantities. More information about BITE NW Arkansas and 8th Street Market is available at www.BITENWA.com.

Lydia Ko Named 2016 Champion of the #NWAChampionship

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G - Final RoundClaims her 13th LPGA title with a 3-shot win in Arkansas

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko used a final round 68 on Sunday at Pinnacle Country Club to capture her 13th career victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. The 19-year old set a new tournament scoring record with a three-day total 17-under par 196 and finished three shots clear of Morgan Pressel and Candie Kung.

“On this stretch of the last three weeks, I played really solid, and to go back home, I know winning the last event of the three week stretch I played, it’s a really cool feeling, and I’m going to enjoy the week off next week,” said Ko.

Ko, who was tied with Pressel at 14-under to start the day, came out firing on all cylinders and took control early in the round. She birdied four of her first five holes to extend the lead to four shots and never turned back.

She picked up her first of three bogeys on the day on the par 3 6th hole and Pressel followed it up with a birdie on No. 7 to cut the lead to two shots.

Ko and Pressel exchanged birdies on both Nos. 8 and 10 to keep the margin at two shots but Pressel stumbled down the stretch with four consecutive bogeys on Nos. 11-14.

“I had high hopes certainly, and I felt like I played pretty well for nine holes,” said Pressel. “Hung in there, but then I just couldn’t keep it going and couldn’t get lucky as I had been getting lucky. It just wasn’t my day.”

Ko’s back nine wasn’t as memorable as she would like, closing with a bogey on the 18th to drop to 17-under par but the Kiwi was more than pleased to take home career victory No. 13.

“I think I got I think the sun hit me a little bit. I was feeling a little tired, but, you know, I was trying to grind my way out,” said Ko. “It’s not really the fanciest finish, finishing up with a six, but I just think of it as me bogeying another hole, but it was a great week and I love coming back here.”

Weekly Update June 9

Weekly Update from the #NWAChampionship

New: Officials introduce the LPGA Greenway

Community: Pantene Beautiful Lengths donors and stylists still needed to reach 1,000 donors

Competition: Nine players expected to play in #NWAChampionship all 10 years

ROGERS, Ark.- With just two weeks until the 10th anniversary of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, tournament officials are excited to share the addition of a new golf course walking trail—the LPGA Greenway, the final drive for Pantene Beautiful Lengths donors and the return of nine LPGA professionals to the event for its 10th year. The #NWAChampionship returns to Pinnacle Country Club June 20-26. Tickets are now on sale at www.NWAChampionship.com.

NEW: Officials Introduce the LPGA Greenway

In an effort to celebrate the growth of the NW Arkansas region and 10 years of memories from the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, tournament officials announce the introduction of the LPGA Greenway. This one-mile walking trail meanders through holes 15, 16, 17 and 18 at Pinnacle Country Club and will be unveiled at the 2016 event. Each of the four holes will represent different qualities of the Northwest Arkansas community, from the scenic beauty to the vibrant business environment. In addition, each hole boasts a significant tournament moment from throughout the 10 years, including Stacy Lewis’ tricky putt on the 18th Hole to win the event in 2014 to Na Yeon Choi’s eagle on Hole 16 in 2015.

Officials plan to unveil signage onsite at the event highlighting the LPGA Greenway throughout the grounds. Signs on each hole will explain the significance of the hole and its marquee memory from the last 10 years.

COMMUNITY: Pantene Beautiful Lengths Donors and Stylists still needed to reach 1,000 Donors

Over the last 10 years, the #NWAChampionship has partnered with Pantene Beautiful Lengths to collect hair used to make wigs for people suffering from cancer. This year, organizers set a goal to collect hair from 1,000 donors by the end of the event planned for June 20 at the Walmart AMP. Tournament officials are encouraging both stylists and donors to sign up to attend the June 20 event to ensure the ambitious goal is reached as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations.

Donors or stylists interested in participating at the June 20th event can still register at www.beautifullengthsnwa.com

COMPETITION: Nine Players expected to Play at #NWAChampionship all 10 Years

In addition to the tournament itself, several LPGA players are also marking their 10th year in Northwest Arkansas in 2016. Nine of the 144 players in the field at the 2016 event are expected to have participated in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G each year of the tournament’s history. The list of returning players includes a former Razorback, past winners and top-ranked players on tour.  The complete list is included below. Officials expect to announce the final field list for the 2016 tournament Tuesday, June 14.

10 Year Players:

1.       Christina Kim

2.       Brittany Lang

3.       Meena Lee

4.       Stacy Lewis

5.       Brittany Lincicome

6.       Becky Morgan

7.       Jane Park

8.       Kris Tamulis

9.       Sun Young Yoo

MEDIA: Media Credentials Now Available

The tournament media credential application is now open at www.lpgamediacredentials.com. All members of the media interested in covering the tournament will need to apply for a credential. Advanced approval by the LPGA is required for media access to the tournament. Contact Taylor Fisher at taylor.fisher@octagon.com with any questions.

 

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Razorback Freshman Maria Fassi Secures Sponsor’s Exemption

In addition to Fassi, University of Arkansas golfers Alana Uriell and Regina Plasencia will compete in the tournament’s Monday qualifier event

MariaThe 10th annual Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G announced Freshman Maria Fassi as the recipient of its 2016 Sponsor’s Exemption as part of the annual Road to the #NWAChampionship partnership. With only one semester of college golf under her belt, Fassi earned the exemption with a 72.56 Scoring Average, making her the top ranked player on the Razorback Women’s Golf Team and the 15th ranked player in America. Alana Uriell and Regina Plasencia rounded out the season with the second and third best scoring averages, giving them the opportunity to play in the tournament’s Monday qualifier event.

“It will be an amazing experience playing with the top players in the world at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, and I’m excited to learn from them,” said Fassi. “I am really thankful for this opportunity and look forward to making memories at the tournament.”

Fassi is the newest and youngest member of the Razorback golf team, joining the team in January. At the beginning of the semester, tournament officials and Razorback Golf Coach Shauna Estes-Taylor evaluated that Fassi would become eligible for the Road to the #NWAChampionship after she completed 16 rounds of competition and therefore becoming  ranked on the official Golfstat player rankings.

The 18-year-old golfer hails from Pachuca, Mexico and joined the team in January 2016 after finishing high school last December. In her first collegiate tournament experience at just 17 years old, Fassi won the Lady Puerto Rico Classic shooting a low round 67 and three-round total 208. She has remained consistent all season carding four top-10 finishes in the first five events of her collegiate career. In 2015, Fassi won the Mexican Amateur and qualified to play in the U.S. Women’s Open.

“I couldn’t be more proud of each of these ladies for their hard work and performance on and off the course this spring,” Razorback Women’s Golf Coach Shauna Estes explains. “This is especially exciting for Maria with this being her freshman year and first semester of college golf. She has proven herself these past few months and I look forward to seeing her represent the University of Arkansas at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.”

Razorback Sophomore Alana Uriell closed out the season with a 73.46 scoring average and Senior Regina Plasencia finished with an average of 73.93. Both golfers will compete in the tournament’s qualifier round on Monday, June 20 for a chance to claim each of the two final spots available in the official tournament field. Plasencia competed in the 2014 and 2015 tournament qualifier, while this is Uriell’s first year to compete.

This marks the second year of the Road to the #NWAChampionship partnership between the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and the University of Arkansas Women’s Golf Team. The  partnership guarantees one Razorback student-athlete a Sponsor’s Exemption into the tournament and two student-athletes the chance to Monday qualify for the full field LPGA event. Past exemptions have included Stacy Lewis, Emily Tubert and Gaby Lopez, who finished T29 at the 2015 event.

To find out more about the Road to #NWAChampionship or the LPGA tournament, please visit www.nwachampionship.com.

Tickets On Sale Now!

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G

Over the last 10 years, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G has become a premier stop on the LPGA Tour. June 20-26 the tournament will celebrate its 10th anniversary while 144 of the world’s best LPGA Professionals tee it up at Pinnacle Country Club. Players will vie for a $2,000,000 purse and a chance to be named Champion of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G. Ticketholders can expect to see popular staples of the golf event return such as the Walmart Kids Center presented by Dove, Hallmark Autograph Alley and the Gatorade Loudest Hole on Tour (No. 17). To view a complete schedule of events for #NWAChampionship Week, click here.

General Admission Tickets:

Extreme Tix ThumbnailEnjoy general grounds access to the #NWAChampionship! Kids 17 and under get in free with a ticketed adult. Military members and their families get in free with a valid military ID. 

Daily tournament ticket: $10

Weekly tournament ticket: $25

 

The Club:

Extreme Tix ThumbnailExperience the #NWAChampionship like you never have before. The Club is an exclusive hospitality suite overlooking the 16th and 17th holes offering ticketholders an enhanced experience to watch the best female golfers in the world. Food and drinks included in ticket price.

Daily admission: $95

Weekly admission: $250

Click Here LPGA Tickets

BITE NW Arkansas

The newly rebranded and expanded two-day food festival as part of #NWAChampionship Week returns June 23 & 24 to the Walmart AMP! Celebrating the region's best fares, ingredients, restaurants and chefs, BITE NW Arkansas aims to give attendees an unparalleled culinary experience in their own backyard.

Taste of NW Arkansas

Thursday, June 23

*tickets available at 10am CST March 1. 

taste iconMix, mingle and enjoy sample sized menu items prepared by restaurants from throughout the region at this grand tasting style event. Special guest chefs will host the evening, inclusive of cooking demonstrations and hands on interactions with guests. Click here to see a current list of participating restaurants.

Individual Ticket: $30

Couple’s Ticket (admits 2 people): $50

     Youth Ticket (12-20 years of age): $20

Beer & Burger Fest

Friday, June 24

beer burger iconA traditional beer fest with a burger twist! Sample local and national brews paired with signature burgers prepared by select local restaurants. Click here to see a current list of participating breweries.

Individual Ticket: $30

Couple’s Ticket (admits 2 people): $50

     Designated Driver Ticket (valid for food only): $15

     *All ticket holders must be 21. IDs will be checked at the gates

Click Here BITE Tickets

5k @ the LPGA benefiting Mercy

5k iconThe second annual 5k @ the LPGA benefiting Mercy will be held Saturday, June 25, starting and finishing at the Walmart AMP. The course winds through the streets of Pinnacle and down the famous Gatorade 17th hole, before exiting Pinnacle with a straight shot back to the Walmart AMP.  After the race enjoy a free breakfast at the Walmart AMP. Find out more about the 5k by clicking here.

Early registration fee: $20

Register for 5k

 

Rachel Platten Community Concert

Tickets to the Rachel Platten Community Concert presented by Walmart will be available at a later date. Please like us on Facebook to stay up to date with Community Concert news and announcements!

 

Volunteer Registration

The #NWAChampionship could not happen without the 750+ dedicated volunteers it takes to help put on the event. Volunteer opportunities exist throughout tournament week in over 20 different Volunteer Committees. Click here to view a complete list of available committees. Registration cost includes two tournament polos, tournament hat or visor, Volunteer parking, meals on scheduled days, four weekly tournament tickets and commemorative volunteer pin.

$45 per person

Register to Volunteer

Northwest Arkansas Makes the Kindest Cut


The annual Pantene Beautiful Lengths was held Wednesday night at the Walmart AMP, hosted by P&G’s Mindy Sherwood and Walmart’s Carmen Bouza with special guests Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr and Lindsey Vonn.  Over 300 ponytails were collected, consisting of eight inches of hair each to make real-hair wigs for cancer patients. Included in that count were two LPGA players—Jane Rah and Sponsor Exemption Candy Hannemann. 

Monday Qualifier Tee TImes

#1 TEE    
TIME Name Hometown
1:00 PM Merkle, Kristina Honolulu, HI
Group 1 Seo, Hanule Las Vegas, NV
  Moreno, Paola Columbia
     
1:11 PM Plasencia, Regina (a) Mexico
Group 2 Vaughn, Megan Bryant, AR
  Machado, Kate Scottsdale, AZ
     
1:22 PM Marks, Samantha (a) Maitland, FL
Group 3 Menendez, Ana Raleigh, NC
  Franks, Molly Sherman, TX
     
1:33 PM Rose, Jordan San Angelo, TX
Group 4 Staggs, Jade Oklahoma City, OK
  Postillion, Samantha Scottsdale, AZ
     
1:44 PM Cox, Sydney Thackerville, OK
Group 5 Chen, Doris Bradenton, FL
  Knight, Allie Knoxville, TN
     
1:55 PM Kane, Lorie Canada
Group 6 Neidy, Taylor Edmond, OK
  O'Brien, Kristi Fishers, IN

 

Click here to view PDF. 

Weekly Update: June 8

Weekly Update from the #NWAChampionship

New: Additional viewing decks added to enhance spectator experience

Community: Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifier to take place Sunday before tournament

Competition: Olympic hopeful Candy Hannemann secures second Sponsor’s Exemption

 

With just one event left on the LPGA Tour schedule before the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, tournament officials announced today improvements to the on-course spectator experience, a Drive, Chip & Putt qualifier event for local youth, and the recipient of its second and final Sponsor Exemption. Once again the world’s best female golfers will return to Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers June 22-28. Tickets remain on sale at www.NWAChampionship.com.

 

NEW: Tournament expands viewing decks throughout Pinnacle Country Club

In an ongoing effort to enhance the on-site spectator experience at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, new and expanded viewing decks and seating will be added for general spectators at the 2015 tournament. These new spaces will be located on holes #1, #9, #17 and #18.

“The experience of our general spectators is very important to us,” said Harry Hardy, Tournament Director. “Kimberly-Clark stepped up their sponsorship this year in a bid to make these new viewing areas possible and for that we are grateful. Our spectators are going to enjoy watching the world’s best female golfers from these new vantage points found throughout the course.”

On the front nine, viewing space on the 1st Tee has doubled with stadium seating on two sides of the tee box. The 9th hole, a popular viewing spot for spectators annually, now features a Kimberly-Clark Viewing Deck with views of the green and approach shots. On the back nine, the 17th Hole now features three different options for general spectators, offering different vantage points throughout the hole. The Kimberly-Clark Viewing Deck and the BallPark Fan Pavilion will offer open-air seating, while the Filtrete Cooling Zone will be an enclosed, air conditioned space for general spectators. On the 18th hole, spectators will find a wrap-around viewing deck, giving general spectators an excellent view of the entire 18th hole.

 

COMMUNITY:  Area youth to compete at Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifier on tournament grounds

Drive, Chip & Putt will host a qualifier event at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers on June 21. Bringing this youth golf development initiative to NW Arkansas was made possible by a partnership between Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, The First Tee of NWA and Pinnacle Country Club, and gives participants the chance to earn an invitation to the National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club. The closest qualifying location previously was Tulsa.

In only its third year, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will provide playing opportunities throughout all 50 states for boys and girls ages 7-15, who will compete in separate divisions in four age categories. Top performers at the local level will advance through sub-regional and regional qualifiers with the top 80 performers overall—40 boys and 40 girls—earning an invitation to the National Finals at Augusta National on Sunday, April 3, the eve of the 2016 Masters.

Registration for the Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifier is now open at www.DriveChipandPutt.com.

 

COMPETITION: LPGA Veteran Candy Hannemann to play at NW Arkansas Championship

The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G has announced its second and final Sponsor’s Exemption recipient. Candy Hannemann, an LPGA tour professional from 2004 to 2008, will join the 144-player field at the tournament June 26-28.  The Rio de Janiero, Brazil native and mother of two has returned to golf in hopes of competing in the 2016 Olympics.

“I want to play in the Olympics in 2016 because it is in my hometown [Rio de Janeiro] and my home country [Brazil],” said Hannemann. “It is the only reason why I am coming back. I was happy being home with the kids and working here and there, but this is the one main goal that has brought me back to golf.”

As the host country, Brazil will receive one golfer in the Olympic field, which will be selected based on the golfers’ Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. Hannemann is currently unranked and is number 407 on the LPGA priority list. She hopes to bolster her ranking by securing sponsor exemption invites into LPGA events. The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G will be Hannemann’s second appearance in an LPGA event since 2008.