Connect with us

Tour News

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship recap: Bittersweet scorching heat

Published

on

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.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tour News

REPORT: Tiger Woods to play in the Genesis Open on Feb 15

Published

on

Last season, Tiger Woods withdrew from a press conference at the Genesis Open due to back spasms. This season, Woods will reportedly play in the 2018 Genesis Open at Riviera C.C. in Pacific Palisades, California from February 15-18.

By withdrawing from the 2017 Genesis Open — an event which his Tiger Woods Foundation hosts — Woods ensured that a promising comeback was not to be. At the start of 2017, Woods committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic… an aggressive schedule for Woods, who hadn’t played much competitive golf in the previous year due to back injuries and surgeries. Things didn’t go as planned, however, as Woods missed the cut at the Farmers, withdrew after an opening-round 77 in Dubai, and withdrew from the Genesis Open and the Honda.

Since then, Woods has had spinal fusion surgery, and he recently finished T9 at the 18-player 2017 Hero World Challenge. It was there he showed the golfing world — and probably himself, too — that he can still compete among the world’s best golfers when he’s healthy.

At the Hero World Challenge, Woods was consistently hitting 179 mph of ball speed off the tee with his driver, and despite some early concerns with the wedge, he showed prowess around and on the greens. He was yip-less, fast, healthy, and finished 8-under through four rounds. A Tiger Woods comeback seems more plausible now than it has in three years.

Woods will continue to test his game at the 2017 Genesis Open — a start that will come 26 years after competing as a 16-year-old amateur in the 1992 Nissan Open at Riviera. Much like 26 years ago, Woods comes to Riviera as a golfer who needs to prove himself… it’s just that this time around, he has 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour wins to his name.

Your Reaction?
  • 92
  • LEGIT10
  • WOW2
  • LOL3
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP3
  • OB1
  • SHANK6

Continue Reading

Popular Photo Galleries

Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge

Published

on

GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-team field includes some of the game’s legendary major champions, and their sons. Notable teams include John Daly/Little John Daly, Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo, Tom Kite/David Kite, Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer, Greg Norman/Greg Norman Jr., Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus Jr., and Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino.  The teams will compete in a scramble format over 36 holes to decide the winners of the Willie Park Trophy.

Last year, David Duval and his step-son Nick Karavites took home the trophy, and they are back in the field this year to defend.

Check out our photos below from this year’s event!

Thursday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos

Your Reaction?
  • 18
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Popular Photo Galleries

Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

Published

on

GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

Related

Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

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

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending