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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Going Back to Arkansas

The LPGA is headed back to Arkansas this week for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, where Stacy Lewis is the defending champion. Stacy went to school in Arkansas -- in case you somehow missed it, she's a dyed-in-the-wool Razorback -- and is currently a volunteer assistant women’s golf coach at the University of Arkansas.

Two of her players made the field this week –- Gaby Lopez on a sponsor exemption and Samantha Marks through medalist honors at the Monday qualifier. That's Lopez in the photo with Stacy below.

Stacy Lewis and Gaby Lopez

Tony Jesselli has his usual preview of the event over at his blog, so you can get all the important info there. An interesting factoid: The winning score has been -12 in each of the last 4 years.

Although Stacy is the defending champ this week, you can argue that Inbee Park is the favorite. Fresh off her defense at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship -- her third victory this season -- she's clearly on a roll, whereas Stacy is winless since her victory here last year. (Stacy does have something like 5 runner-up finishes though, so it's not like she's playing badly.)

And with Inbee regaining her #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings for the third time -- and opening up a nearly 3-point lead over Stacy (and a bit over 1.5 points over Lydia Ko) -- it's hard to believe that Stacy won't push a bit too hard this week. That seems to have been Stacy's problem lately; she wants that #1 spot (and some victories) a bit too much perhaps.

We'll have to see if some home cooking and "Pig, SOOEY!" calls can help her get over the hump! Maybe -13 is in the cards for Stacy this year.

This is another week where GC will be giving us live coverage. It starts Friday at 11:30am ET and is scheduled for 3 hours. YAY!.

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