2015 Champion, Na Yeon Choi
Whenever the favorite club question comes up, Na Yeon Choi’s answer is always the same – the 8-iron. She proved why Sunday, jarring her approach from 145 yards from the 16th fairway for eagle to storm into the lead at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. It proved a lead she would never relinquish, winning by two shots for her second win of 2015 and ninth of her career.
“Yeah, I hit 3 wood and I hit 8 iron to the pin, was like 145. Then I hit controlled 8 iron,” Choi said. “I mean, when I hold the finish, I thought it’s going to be good, but I didn’t expect like it go in. I knew it was going to be good. That was a good shot and then I knew it’s going to be good.”
Choi approached her tee shot in the middle of the 16th fairway with Stacy Lewis holding a one-shot lead and heading towards a short birdie putt at the 17th. It looked like Lewis’ to be had for the second straight year, but Choi flipped the script completely with her eagle while Lewis missed her putt to give Choi a one-shot lead.
She needed only one more swing to close the door, nearly jarring her shot at the par-3 17th before tapping it in for a two-shot lead and an easy walk up the 18th. That shot into the 17th also came with an 8-iron.
Choi’s total of 15-under 198 came on a day where she struggled with the flat stick en route with 33 putts. But when she needed it the most, she found it, playing the last three holes in 3-under-par with two consecutive twos on the scorecard for a 2-under 69 Sunday.
“I mean, today, especially my putting didn’t really work and but still I tried to keep focus my shot and swing, and then I kept hitting well and then after 16 I, after I hit the second shot, I knew this is going to be good,” Choi said. “I felt really good, you know, feeling after the impact. So when I holed the finish, I thought it’s going to be good, but I didn’t expect like go in. So I was very happy after that shot, but like unfortunately I couldn’t see the ball going in. I just heard a lot of screaming around the green.”
Mika Miyazato finished as the runner-up at 13-under-par after Lewis bogeyed the 18th. Azahara Munoz (66), Lewis (68) and Anna Nordqvist (70) each tied for third at 12-under-par.