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Walmart NW Arkansas Championship – First-Round Notes and Interviews

Posted by on Sep 10th, 2011 and filed under Golf. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G

Pinnacle Country Club Rogers, Arkansas

September 9, 2011

First-round notes and interviews

Yani Tseng -5, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Stacy Lewis -5, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Taylor Leon -4, Rolex Rankings No. 291
Paula Creamer -3, Rolex Rankings No. 9
Morgan Pressel -3, Rolex Rankings No. 15

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng and University of Arkansas alum Stacy Lewis are tied for the first-round lead after both shot a 5-under 66 on Friday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. Tseng and Lewis lead Taylor Leon, Jin Young Pak and Karen Stupples by one shot heading into the second round of the 54-hole event at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark.

Tseng, who is the defending champion at the event, eagled the par-5 18th hole to cap off a solid round that also featured three birdies. For her eagle on 18, the 22-year-old hit a 19-degree hybrid to approximately six feet and sunk the left-to-right breaking putt to move to the top of the leaderboard. It was Tseng’s seventh eagle of the season, which ranks third on the LPGA Tour this year.

But Tseng felt the biggest momentum swing in her round came on the par-5 14th where she hit her third shot to three feet and made birdie. Prior to that hole, Tseng said that she was pushing a few shots to the right but over her final few holes she was able to find a groove with her swing.

“I feel very comfortable, confident after that hole I was hitting my shot straighter,” Tseng said. “I kind of work on my swing a little bit. And my caddie keep telling me, your swing’s good, don’t think too much, so that helps a lot, too.

Lewis certainly had the support of the crowd throughout the first round. She won 12 collegiate tournaments during her time at the University of Arkansas, where she graduated with a degree in finance and accounting. Lewis, who became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this year, was greeted by fans with her alma mater’s famous Hog Call as she walked up the final two holes of her round. And Lewis birdied both No. 17 and 18 to finish off her bogey-free round and give herself a share of the lead with Tseng.

“I was so nervous on the first tee,” Lewis said after her round. “You want to play well and I think early on I was kind of forcing things, just really wanting to play well and kind of forcing putts to go in and I just had to stay patient and relaxed. The two birdies that I made on 17 and 18, I mean, it was just unbelievable. I mean the fact that people would be here and support you is great, but I think we had everybody on the golf course on those two holes and it’s unreal.”

It was the type of finish to a round that Lewis has certainly dreamed of having here in Arkansas and she appeared to truly enjoy every congratulatory message or autograph request that greeted her as walked out of the scoring tent on 18.

“You can’t get the smile off my face right now,” Lewis said.

Back on track: Morgan Pressel has spent the last couple weeks working on a few tweaks to her golf swing. She said her swing is something she’s been struggling with over her past few tournaments, as she missed the cut at the Safeway Classic in Portland and finished in a tie for 18th at the CN Canadian

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