At the end of the 2nd round, Stacy Lewis (USA), Chie Arimura (Japan), Beatriz Ricari (Spain), and So Yeon Ryu (South Korea) are in a 4-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. Sunday at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas is going to bring some dynamite golf on the LPGA Tour!
Lewis has finally come alive and put her clubs to work again, and is playing the game that got her the #2 Rolex Ranking. She’s been keeping her long drives in the fairway and and sinking putts the way we all knew she could. But Arimura, Ricari, and Ryu are not going to give the tournament away. They’re staying even with her and Sunday may come down to who makes the first or worst mistake.
Both Arimura and Ricari shot bogey-free rounds on Saturday, and Ricari’s drives are matching Lewis’s. Ryu is playing steady golf and taking advantage of every birdie opportunity.
Mika Miyazato (Japan, who held the top spot alone at the end of the 1st round on Friday, and shared the lead for the first half of her second round, continues to play steady, top-notch golf. Mika Miyazato, at #15 in the Rolex Rankings, was the 2009 Rookie of the Year and lost the NW Arkansas Championship last year by a putt on the 18th hole. Although she hasn’t had an impressive 2013 season, she is clearly ready to put the past to rest with a win on Sunday and would relish the opportunity to claim the trophy and the victory this year. She’s not finished yet.
Arimura, the 2013 Rookie of the Year, is ranked 32 by Rolex. She has only 1 top-ten finish this year, but she has compiled an impressive record of wins on the JLPGA tour and is more than ready to claim a top spot on the LPGA Tour. Ricari, who was the 2010 Rookie of the Year, stands at 25 in the Rolex Rankings. She took the top spot at the Kia Classic and had top-ten finishes at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open and the Honda LPGA Thailand 2013 tournaments. Ru, at #5 in the Rolex Rankings, has 3 top-ten finishes this year. She’s due a win.
After struggling through 3 events that were plagued by rain-soaked courses, the LPGA was due some sunshine and favorable playing conditions. Arkansas has provided the golden moment for the players and the low scores are golden as well. Lydia Ko (amateur, New Zealand), at -7, ended the 2nd round 3 strokes off the lead. Ko continues to give us a preview of her championship game. She shaved 3 strokes off her 1st round score in her 2nd, bogey-free round. I’m keeping a close watch of this phenomenal teen golfer!
Defending champ Ai Miyazato (Japan), at -1 for the tournament, is not playing her game. Going into the final round she’s 9 strokes off the lead and will have to pass a lot of hot golfers to get to the top of the board. Although her Friday round was a bit of a disaster with 4 bogeys, she’s shown us she could do it. She plays well under pressure and she carded -7 today. Don’t count her out yet.
Sunday is going to bring some fun on the LPGA Tour. In addition to the 4-way tie at the top of the board, nineteen players are within 5 shots of the lead going in to the final round. Place your bets, sit back, and watch it unfold!