Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. World #1 Lydia Ko Wins

 

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World #1 Lydia Ko from New Zealand wins the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, with a new low scoring tournament record.

 

Lydia Ko of New Zealand displays the trophy after winning the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

Lydia Ko / Getty Images

Lydia strode to victory with a new tournament low score record at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. A final round -3 under par 68 giving her a -17 under par record low total for the three round tournament, beating the old record by two shots.

Lydia won despite carding a bogey 6 on the last hole;

“Yesterday I had a hot back nine and today I had a hot front nine.”

“But, you know, I think as soon as I; after a few holes, to the back nine, I think the sun kind of got to me a little bit.”

” I could definitely feel the heat. I was kind of grinding out there and I think; I hit the ball really well on the front nine but I didn’t hit it that well on the back, and that kind of happened for my second shot on the last hole.”

” Not the most fanciest way to finish off a championship, but I’m just going to think of it as me bogeying another hole.”

Candie Kung, from Taipei, -2 under 69 today,  shared second place with Morgan Pressel, USA, who had a strange round of even par 71, with 5 birdies, wiped out by five bogey’s, both ladies with -14 under par tournament totals.

Candie admitted the heat finally got to her today;

“I kept myself in there. I was really tired out there. It was really hot. It finally got to me today.”

” I think that’s how I started the day, how I started.  Because it was just a mental mistake on the second hole.”

” I made that for bogey, but luckily I’m making the birdies coming in.”

A tearful Morgan said she just ran out of luck;

“I had high hopes certainly, and I felt like I played pretty well for nine holes, 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.”

 “You know, I know I’m heading in the right direction, I know it’s in there.”

” Just got to pull it out a little more often. I really just loved playing here this week in front of my friends and my husband and his crew.”

” I don’t know what else to say, sorry.  It’s upsetting to not finish the way that I wanted to.”

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Lydia & Morgan Tied at the Top.

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World number one Lydia Ko, from New Zealand, is tied at the top of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship leaderboard with American Morgan Pressel.

 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

Lydia & Morgan / getty images

 

Lydia carded a second round -9 under par 62, which included an Eagle at the par five 18th, to climb to the top of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship leaderboard, sharing that place with Morgan, who managed to keep pace with the leader with her -8 under 63, they both have -14 under par totals.

Lydia is aware that low numbers are available out here, so two shots could easily be made up;

“You can see by the scores, there are some low numbers out there, so typically you could be five, six shots behind and you may shoot a magical number and be right up there in contention.”

“Like I’ve experienced in the past, so I don’t think you can take anyone out of it.”

“It’s a field with a lot of big names, so even though I’m currently leading and tied with Morgan, you just can’t take anyone out of it within that five, four‑shot lead range.”

” So I just have to focus on my game.  You could get carried away thinking what is another player doing, but I’m just going to try and focus on what I’m going to do and give myself good opportunities.”

Morgan is keeping her eye on winning, and will come out tomorrow swinging;

“Certainly winning is the goal, and what I’d like to do tomorrow, you know, step by step, you have to start with a good drive on the first hole and just ‑‑ if I play anywhere near like I did today, I think that I can get it done.”

“I’m definitely in a good position, and I just am going to go to the range, make sure everything’s all set for tomorrow and ready to go, and come out swinging.”

Jin Yang, -6 under par 65, and Candie Kung, -5 under 66 today are tied in third place at -12 under par for the tournament.

Jin said she is striking the ball well, and making a lot of putts;

“I think this week I’m hitting it a lot better and I’m making a lot of putts, so those two things I have been really on and off this year.”

“At ShopRite they were really good and at a lot of other events they really weren’t, and it really showed when I didn’t play very well through my long game.”

” I struggled to have lots of birdie opportunities and get higher up on the leader board, so this week I felt like a little bit of change in my swing, really comfortable, striking the ball.”

Candie admitted to having putting problems;

“Actually, I have been struggling with my putting the last couple weeks, and I think I was thinking too much about technique out on the golf course, so like my goal was to be, just to keep it as simple as possible.”

 “I have been working on swing techniques, trying to make the ball roll a little bit more straighter, and it was going good and then I got too technical out on the tournament, which isn’t great for, like being simple.”

” Simple is great for out here, so I think; so this week I just tried to be as simple as possible and I think that was the key for all past weeks, so I think that’s what’s been helping.”

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Ayako Uehara Leads.

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Ayako Uehara, from Japan, leads after the first round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in Arkansas.

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

Ayako Uehara / getty images

Ayako carded an amazing  bogey free first round of -9 under par 62 in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship to sit on top of the leaderboard with a two-stroke advantage over the field.

Ayako spoke via an interpreter to the news media, citing good teamwork for her success;

“With the caddie and the trainer, everybody is like teamwork, and then that’s my motivation now, and so everything is coming together, including the swing coach.”

In second place at -7 under par following her opening round 64 is Candie Kung, from Taipei.

Candie said she was in cruise control, just like last week, just having fun.

“We kind of put it on cruise control and just go, yes, without thinking a whole lot, and then once you stop waiting for the group in front then you start thinking about stuff, which is not good.”

 “I was having a lot of fun, and we had a good group of people that I like, and we all played very fast, so I think that helps, too, and we didn’t wait at all the whole round, so I think that helps, too.”

Fourteen ladies are tied in third place at -6 under par, Giulia Molinaro, Angela Stanford, Vicky Hurst, Sandra Gal, Jing Yan, Alena Sharp, Sun Young Yoo, Chella Choi, Minjee Lee, Carlota Ciganda, Ai Miyazato, So Yeon Ryu, P.K. Kongkraphan and Morgan Pressel.

Morgan was hitting it close to the pin all day;

“I hit my wedges very well today.  I certainly got off to a good start on one and 10 and 11.”

” I think I really only made; I’m trying to remember, one birdie putt over maybe six or seven feet for the most part.”

” I hit it pretty close all day and gave myself a lot of opportunities.”

 

ShopRite LPGA Classic. Morgan Makes a Move.

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Morgan Pressel made a move towards winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic, maintaining her lead at the top of the leaderboard, and will take a one shot lead into the final round tomorrow.

ShpoRite LPGA Classic

Morgan Pressel / Getty Images

Morgan stayed at the top of the ShopRite LPGA Classic leaderboard with her second round -2 under par 69, giving her a -7 under par total in this three round competition.

Morgan is looking to break a near seven-year winless drought, but has been playing really well recently, with some decent finishes;

“I guess the more that I am in that position, the more comfortable I am with it.”

“I think at the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with the results, the outcome, no matter what it is.”

“I feel like I’m in a good place, and I’m there, and no matter what happens tomorrow, I’m happy with my game and the direction that I’m heading.”

“Tomorrow is not the end of the world one way or the other, but I’m going to go out there and give it my best shot.”

“It was a tough day to play. I think that the wind tomorrow is going to be pretty similar. I was able to keep the ball in front of me really well today.”

“I only hit a couple of poor shots, one on 13 where I ended up having to pitch out after a poor drive, but the wind is tough to club, but it’s also tough to commit, and I think that I did a pretty good job committing to all the shots today, committing to my target lines.”

“Sometimes when you have an 8-iron or a 9-iron in your hand it’s hard to aim 40 yards right of the pin and trust that the wind is going to bring it all the way back, but I did a pretty good job of that today, and going to need more of the same tomorrow.”

Anna Nordqvist is just one shot back at -6 under par for the tournament, and she is really the only player who can contest the leadership as the chasing pack of five ladies are at -4 under par. They are Kelly Shon , Christel Boeljon , Gerina Piller , Pernilla Lindberg , and Catriona Matthew.

The defending Champion, Stacy Lewis is T66 at +3 over par for the tournament, very sad defense of her title. World number two Inbee Park is T21 at -1 under par.

 

ShopRite LPGA Classic. Morgan Pressel 1st Round Leader.

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Morgan Pressel leads the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

 

ShopRite LPGA Classic

Morgan Pressel / Getty Images

Morgan shot a first round -5 under par 66 to sit on top of the ShopRite LPGA Classic leaderboard at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in New Jersey.

Morgan carded five birdies, two bogey and an Eagle on the day and finished strongly, birdie-Eagle to get to -5 under par. Morgan reported that she had some unforced errors but was encouraged by her strong finish, and the confidence in her new swing;

“I really didn’t put myself in a whole lot of trouble.”

 “I wouldn’t say that I certainly had the best game out there.  I felt like I made a few mistakes. And I didn’t play all that well, but then I came down birdieing 8 and eagleing the last hole.”

” That definitely helps,  and I only made two bogeys today, I mean they weren’t great bogeys by any means.”

” I shouldn’t have really made them, but hopefully tomorrow I can eliminate those kinds of mistakes and can keep giving myself opportunities for birdie.”

“I think it’s just a confidence thing, I think it’s not standing up to the tee afraid of where the golf ball might go, but knowing on the next one I certainly can give myself a good opportunity to make birdie.”

“So it’s really just a confidence thing and it’s nice to stand up to the tee with more confidence.”

Four ladies are tied second at -4 under par;  Anna Nordqvist, Alena Sharp, Min Lee and Ryann O’Toole are in hot pursuit of the leader.

Min Lee has adjusted her attitude after struggling recently, and it is working for her;

“I’ve been struggling for a while, like a couple weeks, and then so last week is an off-week, and I was looking for like what’s different when I’m playing good at Symetra and then here, and I kind of lost myself a little bit for the past few weeks.”

“And then after Williamsburg, we played U.S. Open qualifier, and I just changed my mind and I really enjoyed it, and I played really good, and I just bring the attitude here to today.”

“I really like the golf course. The greens are very tiny and little, and it gets very windy. But it’s windy in Taiwan, too, so, I really like.”

The defending champion Stacy Lewis Eagled her final hole, the ninth, to score a +1 over par 72 for her opening round to finish in a tie for 56th .

World number two Inbee Park started the competition with an even par round of 71, in her pursuit of Lydia Ko at the top of the rankings. Lydia is not competing here this week so the gap could close between them.

 

 

ANA Inspiration. Morgan Pressel Leads

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Morgan Pressel leads the ANA Inspiration tournament at Mission Hills Country Club, Dinah Shore Tournament Course, the first Major of the LPGA season.

ANA Inspiration

Morgan Pressel / Getty Images

Morgan shot a first round -5 under par 67 to lead the ANA Inspiration tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in California.

Morgan is looking forward to jumping back into Poppy’s Pond again, as traditionally the winners here do;

“I think every player dreams of having their name up on that wall, and the fact that mine is up there, it’s very, very special.

“I have so many great memories here, but I’d love to put it up there again.”

“I was just kind of lost after Singapore this year. I knew where I wanted my swing to get but I was having trouble getting it there.”

“I have a lot less movement on my golf ball which has been helpful.”

“Where I can now aim pretty much right down the center of the fairways. Really, honestly, I had no idea where the golf ball was going early this year, so it’s a big change.”

“I think for a long hitter out here who can take advantage of some of the par fives, which is helpful, there are places no matter how hard you hit it, you’re behind a tree in a tough spot in a bunker.”

“So I’ve always looked at this golf course as consistency as the tee. Yeah, Lexi hits it a long way, but if you watched her last year, she hit every fairway.”

“So I think the big key out here is just keeping the ball in play. And knowing sometimes on some holes which side of the fairway you need to be on so you can hit and have a good angle through your approach shot.”

In second place at -4 under par is Ai Miyazato, from Japan, who said she is not a long hitter, but it is where you place the ball that counts;

“I’m not a long hitter, not just this golf course, I think it’s a really good set-up, and it doesn’t matter the distance.”

 “It’s all about position and where you are, wherever you hit, you are.”

Four ladies are tied in third position at -3 under par, they include last weeks winner Gwladys Nocera, with So Yeon Ryu, Juli Inkster and Alison Walshe.

Juli thinks she is lucky to be able to play at this level, with all the talented youngsters around;

“I enjoy the game and I enjoy working at it.”

“I like the process of it. But these girls are our future. You know, I’m just lucky I can still come out here and compete a little bit.”

World Number one Lydia Ko is T10 with a -1 under par round today, which equals Annika Sorenstam’s 29 consecutive rounds record under par. One more round tomorrow will give her the record, but she admitted she did struggle today. Hopefully tomorrow she will achieve that milestone and then be able to concentrate on winning this tournament;

“Today I was so busy trying to make up-and-downs, or trying to make a good two-putt or make some birdies, because I really wasn’t hitting my driver well, and here the rough can get pretty thick.”

“When you’re in that position a record was the last thing I was thinking about. But, yeah, Lexi and I made two really good birdies on 8, and I got back to under par.”

“I think probably on my 1st hole, which was the 10th, I read a little note that David Leadbetter gave me prior to my round.”

“And I just went back. Just put myself back another step and just said this is a whole new nine. There are some birdie opportunities there, so I just try to keep it simple. But it wasn’t as simple as I would have liked.”

“The record wasn’t really in my head. I guess, post round, now that you guys are asking. Here it is.”

“But, no, not when I was playing. But I think because I was spraying it a little bit, it made me think less about the records and the after results.”

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Kia Classic. Morgan Pressel Shoots 64 to Equal Record

 

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Morgan Pressel shoots 64 to equal the course record and to share the lead in the Kia Classic at the half-way point at Aviara Golf Club in California.

Kia Classic

Morgan Pressel / Getty Images

Morgan carded a second round -8 under par 64 to top the leaderboard at -10 under par with Mirim Lee at the Kia Classic.

Morgan spoke of her stress free round, hitting it in close and putting very well;

“It was definitely stress free, I hit almost every fairway, and I think 16 or 17 greens. And I had a chance of birdie on almost every hole”

“I think there was one hole I had a par putt of two feet, so that was nice. I just hit it where I wanted to hit it today.”

“It’s been a while since I’ve kind of been confident knowing where the golf ball would go, and so it was nice to swing freely out there today and have the result that I did.”

“I mean the greens are difficult and tough to read, and they are bumpy, especially later in the day. So that kind of puts it all in perspective as how difficult the greens are out here.”

“But early on I made a couple of really long putts, you kind of feel like your stealing them when they go in, so that was nice.”

“I was hitting it close too, so I gave myself a lot of opportunities, and certainly some of them went in, and I had one that was a kick in, that was nice too.” 

Alison Lee and Christie Kerr are tied in third place, just one shot behind at -9 under par, while  Maria Hernandez, Sakura Yokomine, Hyo Joo Kim and Brittany Lang are together in 5th position at -8 under par.

Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko are currently at -7 under par for the tournament, Stacy with -3  69 today and Lydia -2 under 70. They are tied in 9th place with Alison Walshe.

Lydia has now recorded 26 consecutive rounds of golf under par, and  she is just three rounds away from tying the LPGA record of 29, held by Annika Sorenstam.

It’s not something that Lydia spends too much time thinking about;

“You know, you don’t know because at the end of the day it’s just you’re talking about that round and that tournament and how well you finished.”

“But I guess it’s been pretty good and I’ve been playing pretty solid the last couple of weeks, especially when we went down under, Australian, New Zealand to Singapore.”

” So yeah, you know, it’s a  pretty cool streak, but you just never know, and I’m not going to be counting.”