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Walmart NW Arkansas Championship recap: Bittersweet scorching heat

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By Vince Robitaille

 GolfWRX Staff Writer

The action was heated in more ways than one, last weekend in Rogers, Ark., a former World No.1 rallying late in order to become the third multiple winner on tour this season, a rookie coming out of relative obscurity to make a bid at Venezuelan history, and mercury rising well above the 100 degree mark. Ultimately, it was a slightly bittersweet taste that lingered across the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship’s prime protagonists’ mouths; a friend’s shattered hopes and an array of putts left short dampening the celebrations for both Ai Miyazato and Veronica Felibert.

Going about our business in somewhat of a chronological manner, inspecting the curious case of Veronica Felibert first seems rather appropriate. After enjoying a fruitful amateur career in her homeland, the Venezuelan later packed up her bucket and headed North for South Los Angeles where she recorded two collegiate victories for the Trojans. The two years following her professional debut, however, were less fructuous: a meager tally of three top-10 finishes and no giant check to show for.  Despite making it on the big stage by way of Q-School, Felibert seemed doomed to head back down to the Symetra Tour with her tail between her legs; three consecutive missed cuts following her season-best tie for 70th in her very first official event, not raising anyone’s expectations for the summer. Her performance on the grounds of the Pinnacle Country Club this weekend, nonetheless, would go a long way for elevating her name amongst the LPGA’s circles.

Two rounds in, the birthday girl – Felibert turned 27 on Saturday – sat on a rather comfortable cushion, her 12 birdies against a lone blemish extended the gap between her closest pursuers, Mika Miyazato and a peloton consisting of eventual champion Ai Miyazato, last week’s silverware recipient, Brittany Lange, Katie Futcher and Ryann O’Toole, herself to four and five strokes, respectively. Poised to become the first Venezuelan to win on the LPGA Tour – Jhonattan Vegas doing so on the men’s side – and to, perhaps, help lifting the glooming reputation of golf in Venezuela – President Hugo Chávez qualifying golf as a bourgeois distraction and judging that golf clubs should relinquish their lands in order to build habitations for the nation’s homeless, casting a shadow over our sport – the former World No.723 sadly capitulated. Her first round over 70, a 1-over 71 highlighted by a vast quantity of putts that never had a chance as they simply never reached the hole, left the door opened for her adversaries to break in and snatch the trophy that was left unattended on her kitchen table.

The cat burgling Miyazato duo of Ai and Mika, were those who left the crime scene with their paws firmly grasping the prized glassware. Unfortunately for the Japanese compatriots and, most importantly, friends, such pieces can’t be shared or split; thus, an inconvenient ending was to be expected.

Caught in a bind atop the leaderboard at 12-under as Ai recorded a birdie on the par-3 15th, a missed opportunity followed by a sudden error would keep Mika from earning her first LPGA Tour triumph. On the same 15th green, Mika, then facing a straightaway 20-footer, left her attempt 12 inches short of the hole. That mere inch that separated her from a solo lead-worthy, aggregate score of 13 would prove twice as costly due to the subsequent bogey on the par-4 16th. In fact, those two shots enabled Ai to clinch her victory in regulation despite a blunder on the 17th hole; her birdie on the 72nd putting surface getting her back to 12-under. It’s in a tearful embrace that both friends congratulated each other on their respective tournaments. It’s in a disappointing manner that one meteorically rose from World No.723 to No.253. Most importantly, however, it’s in a full throttle that Ai Miyazato enters U.S. Women’s Open week.

Click here for more discussion in the “LPGA/Ladies golf talk” forum.

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

Prettier than a new penny.

Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

Everything here is excellent. Just excellent.

More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

You can’t fool me. You’re not Adam Hadwin, you’re a golf bag.

Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club (par 70; 7,209 yards). The event has now been hosted here for 73 straight years.

Headlining the field this week are Jordan Spieth, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jon Rahm (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5) and Rickie Fowler (No. 6). Joining them are notables Webb Simpson, who’s coming off his win at The 2018 Players, as well as Wesley Bryan, Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s champion, Aaron Wise.

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Last year, Kevin Kisner captured the second PGA Tour victory of his career after shooting a final-round, 4-under 66.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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10 interesting photos from Monday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

In addition to a gallery of photos from Misery Hill, we have WITB looks at Chad Campbell, Sung Kang, and Si-Woo Kim’s golf bags.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Welcome to the silver side, Maverick McNealy.

Only appropriate for their to be Hogans at Colonial. J.J. Henry does the honors.

Colonial stalwart Keith Clearwater with an Acculock Ace putter in the bag.

Si-Woo Kim’s driver has an “under construction” aesthetic. Love it.

Abraham Ancer may have the only grafitti-inspired bag font on Tour.

Tidy stuff.

Sung Kang: Going dual drivers this week or testing Tensei Orange vs. Tensei White?

A.B.C. How about this new Odyssey putter cover?

Chad Campbell is still rocking the TaylorMade Burner TP 5-wood!

…and Adams Idea Black irons with a strip of lead tape. Swoon.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Monday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

 

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