Na Yeon Choi Triumphs at Walmart Arkansas
Since joining the LPGA Tour in 2008 Na Yeon Choi has maintained a sustained record of excellence. Choi added another line to her resume with a win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
With the aid of an eagle from the fairway at the par-4 16th hole, Choi overtook hometown favorite Stacy Lewis to record her second win of the season and the ninth of her career. She closed with a 2-under par 69 to complete the 54-hole event at 15-under par 198.
Mika Miyazato wound up finishing second alone after a closing 67 put her at 13-under par 200. Lewis and Azahara Munoz were both at 201. With three holes remaining Lewis held a one-shot lead but Choi used an 8-iron to hole out from 145 yards out in the 16th fairway. “I mean, when I hold the finish, I thought it’s going to be good,” she said, “but I didn’t expect like it go in. I knew it was going to be good. That was a good shot and then I knew it’s going to be good.”
While Choi was holing out at 16 Lewis, just in front of her, was missing a short birdie putt at 17. Choi used another 8-iron at the par-3 17 to tap-in range and birdied to take a two-shot advantage. While she took 33 putts on the day she played the last three holes in three under par.
“Today, especially my putting didn’t really work,” she said, “but still I tried to keep focus my shot and swing, and then I kept hitting well.”
Trailing by two shots Lewis surprisingly laid up with her second shot at the par-5 18th. She said afterward she was unaware that Choi had holed out on 16 until she left the golf course.
“Obviously I didn’t know where I stood,” Lewis said. “I didn’t Na Yeon holed out. I knew I was two behind coming down 18, but I wasn’t really paying attention to the leaderboards all day to know exactly what she had done. I knew I needed to make eagle there and just didn’t quite get the drive down to do that.”
Choi’s first win of 2015 came in the season opener in Florida. The 27-year old won the U.S. Women’s Open in 2012.