2013 Second Round Results
Four LPGA Tour pros crowd the top of the leaderboard at 10-under after the second-round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. University of Arkansas alum Stacy Lewis, Spain’s Beatriz Recari, 2013 rookie Chie Arimura and South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu lead the field by two shots heading into Sunday’s final round.
Recari, Lewis and Arimura fired rounds of 6-under 66, while Ryu posted another 5-under 66.
Lewis, who is the fan-favorite this week, admits she puts pressure on herself to put on a good show for her hometown crowd but thanks to her caddy, Travis Wilson, she has managed to stay levelheaded this week and have some fun at the Pinnacle Country Club.
“There’s definitely going to be pressure there,” said Lewis of being in a tie for the lead. “I think the thing that motivates me more is that I have a bet with my caddie going, but I can’t tell you ‑‑ you’ll see what it is on 17 tomorrow, but as long as I’m in the final group tomorrow you’ll see what it is on 17. So I think that’s what motivated me more than anything today was I wanted to be in that final group going into tomorrow.”
Lewis teed off from the 10th tee during the morning wave and went on a birdie run with four straight birdies before a bogey on the par-5 18th hole. She followed up with four more birdies but ended with another bogey on the par-4 9th, which was her first and only bogey during Friday’s first round.
“There’s just some pins you just can’t go at,” said Lewis. “There’s some sucker pins out there in the middle of the green, you have try to make par and move on.”
2012 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Ryu says although four are tied for the lead after day-two, the leaderboard is crowded enough that anyone could make a run for it on Sunday.
“The green condition is go great,” said Ryu. “So everybody have a really great chance to be shot really low score, kind of like 6‑ or 7‑under. Also, can be chance to be like 10‑under. So now I just checked the leaderboard and there might be four players lead the tournament, but not just four of us game. I see a lot of players in contention.”
A pack of four sit within striking distance at 8-under including South Korea’s I.K. Kim, Inbee Park and Ji Young Oh, along with Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum.
Kim made a surge up the leaderboard on Saturday firing a low-round of the day 7-under 64, while Park followed up her opening round of 2-under 69 with a 6-under 65.
A maturing Stacy Lewis is better handling the pressure of an entire state cheering for her at this year’s Northwest Arkansas stop. The 2008 University of Arkansas graduate carded a 6-under-par 65 in the second round to put herself in contention for her third LPGA victory of the season and first official win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. Her competitive nature and patience will be put to the test on Sunday, as the Arkansas faithful are likely to cheer for their girl during tomorrow’s final round.
“I think the hard part is I’m going to want it so bad, and I know the fans are going to want me to (win) really bad,” Lewis said. “When I get in big events, I want it so bad and I just have to stay patient (tomorrow).”
Lewis, 28, has received attention both inside and outside the ropes since taking over as top-ranked American in June 2012. Following her victory at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in March, she assumed the No. 1 spot on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and the requests for her time began pouring in. Locally, she has become the face of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G and the object of the fan’s affection.
“Honestly, I think it’s everything I dealt with this year with the week that I became No. 1 in the world, it was just chaos,” Lewis said. “And dealing with that pressure of being No. 1 in the world, I learned a lot from that.”
As an amateur sponsor exemption in 2007, Lewis won the inaugural event that was rain-shortened to 18 holes and declared unofficial.
All Ryu Needs is Love. 2012 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year So Yeon Ryu (pronounced Soh Yun Yoo) has a tendency to get down on herself when things aren’t going well. Two weeks ago at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, Ryu missed the cut following rounds of 76 and 77. But the 22-year-old South Korean has found the perfect remedy for those tense moments on the golf course.
“The most important thing is just to love myself,” said Ryu, who is a week shy of her 23rd birthday. “Sometimes when I play really bad, I hate my swing, I hate my personality, I hate everything. I just realized if I love myself I can play well.”
In a self-proclaimed “drought,” Ryu is winless since the 2012 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, where she carded a 9-under-par 62 in the final round to claim her second LPGA victory following the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. Ryu closed 2012 with top-eight finishes in seven of her last eight events. She has continued her solid play in 2013 with a runner-up finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, a tie for third at the Honda LPGA Thailand and a tie for fourth at the North Texas LPGA Shootout.
“I haven’t won for a while, it’s kind of a drought,” she said. ”I’m pretty sure it’s time to win.”
Steady as she Goes. Forty-seven consecutive made cuts and counting, it’s safe to say that Beatriz Recari is pleased with her consistent play over the past year and a half. Being one of three players to make every single cut last season, Recari didn’t feel it was necessary to make major changes to her game even though she was desperate for a win.
“Last year I considered my best season so far even though I didn’t win because I showed a little consistency that I wanted and I was really good, you know,” said Recari. “It was very challenging to make every cut every week. And I obviously got some good feedback that I was doing things right, but I was missing a little something to win.”
Something must’ve clicked for the 26-year-old, as her second-career victory came earlier this season at the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif. The win not only validated her persistence, but also gave her the confidence she needs to get back in the winner’s circle again.
“Obviously when something is working, just keep on doing it and then figure out what is not that good and just work on that to improve,” said Recari. “And obviously I hit the right buttons and so, like I say, I’m just keeping it simple and keeping working on the same things.”
She’s Still Got It. LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster is undoubtedly one of the most seasoned veterans on the LPGA Tour, and today she proved she still has gas left in the tank. Inkster fired a 6-under 65 during Saturday’s second round to end the day 4-shots off the lead.
Inkster put herself in good position to notch her first top-10 since a T4 finish at the 2011 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. The 30-year veteran on Tour says even in her slump she is still enjoying her time on the course.
“I just like to play,” said Inkster. “If I could play just the way I played today, I hit every green but one, drive the ball in the fairway and give myself chances, you know, it’s fun.”
Big Picture in Mind. Lydia Ko has never really felt the pressure to perform well since she has nothing on the line. Aside from being nervous around LPGA Tour pros she has looked up to, Ko feels like she fits right in as she made her 15th cut in professional events at this week’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G.
She finds herself at a T9 with first-round leader Mika Miyazato heading into the final round. She says the beauty of being an amateur at a professional event is playing stress-free golf without the worry of earning a paycheck .
“People have been telling me, you know, for me especially, no money is on board, you know,” said Ko. “Just a win is a win or a tournament is a tournament. So I’ve been kind of trying to think that.”
Cheers to the weekend: A total of 74 players made the cut which fell at even-par 142
Quotable: “You know, I haven’t won for a while. Kind of a drought, and I really want to win. I’m pretty sure it’s time to win. And I practiced really hard last week also. I played really bad at the Wegmans, but I just think about myself and I really figured out what I have to do. Then I think it looks like really working. So I just want to keep focused on my game, and the most important thing is just love myself. Well, you know, if sometimes if I play really bad, I just hate everything. I hate my swing, I hate my personality, and I hate everything. But I just realized I have to love myself, then I can play well. So I just want on go and have great rest and have good food. It’s kind of a really good way to love myself. Then really enjoy it tomorrow.” – So Yeon Ryu, of performing well after a missed cut.
Of note…. Defending champion Ai Miyazato fired a 7- under 64 today to take her two-day total to 5-under and sits a T17 heading into Sunday’s final round… Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park sits two strokes off the lead firing rounds of 69-65… Jennifer Rosales, Victoria Tanco, Jeong Jang withdrew before their rounds on Saturday… Ai Miyazato and I.K. Kim fired the low-rounds of the day 7-under 64, which is two strokes off the tournament record.