The LPGA Tour returns to the United States for the 54-hole Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, having spent the past two weeks in Scotland. Can last year’s runner-up Danielle Kang continue her run of good form?
DEFENDING CHAMPION: South Korean Sung Hyun Park reached 18-under-par 195 here last year, defeating her compatriots Hyo Joo Kim and Inbee Park, as well as American Danielle Kang, by one shot. Park (Sung Hyun) won’t be competing in Arkansas this week.
COURSE: Pinnacle Country Club is celebrating its 30th birthday this year and has hosted this championship since its inception in 2007. The original course was created by Don Sechrest in consultation with Bruce Lietzke, before it was redesigned by Randy Heckenkemper in 2008. It will play to 5,789 metres (par-71) this week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
World No.2 Danielle Kang is unquestionably one of the most in-form players on the planet right now, recording two victories and two further top-five finishes from her last five starts.
The 27-year-old Californian wasn’t overly impressive in South Ayrshire last week – sharing 32nd place at the Women’s British Open – but prior to that, she had recorded five consecutive top-12s since January.
Kang, five times a winner on the LPGA Tour, finished joint runner-up to Sung Hyun Park here last year with rounds of 68, 63 and 65. She hadn’t, however, finished better than T25th at Pinnacle prior to that and has twice missed the cut from her five starts.
RIGHT: Kang has bagged two wins and two further top-5s from her last five starts. PHOTO: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.
Twenty-time LPGA Tour winner Inbee Park made an excellent return to tournament golf last week, finishing fourth at the Women’s British Open at Royal Troon.
Park hadn’t competed on Tour since winning the Women’s Australian Open back in February due to coronavirus concerns. But despite some early rust – she opened with six-over 77 in tough conditions at Troon – Park hardly missed a beat, storming home with the equal-best final round (five-under 66).
The 32-year-old South Korean, who won this event in 2013, finished runner-up to Sung Hyun Park here last year and made 19 birdies against two bogies.
72-HOLE RECORD: Japan’s Nasa Hataoka shot 21-under-par 192 in 2018 when she defeated American Austin Ernst by six shots.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No previous Australian winners.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Hannah Green, Sarah Kemp, Katherine Kirk, Minjee Lee, Su Oh and Sarah Jane Smith.
Round 1: Saturday (Fox Sports 507 LIVE 4am – 7am)
Round 2: Sunday (Fox Sports 507 LIVE 4am – 7am)
Round 3: Monday (Fox Sports 507 LIVE 4am – 7am)
*AEST, check local guides