Lopez, Tubert And Lewis Play Friday

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.-- University of Arkansas junior-to-be Gabriela Lopez joins professional players and former Razorbacks Stacy Lewis and Emily Tubert in first round action at the Walmart NW Arkansas LPGA Championship at Pinnacle Country Club Friday.

Lopez is playing for the second time in as many years on a sponsor’s exemption. Tubert, who graduated and turned professional at the end of the collegiate season, is playing in her first event as a pro.  Lewis, a The Woodlands, Texas, native, is currently the No. 1 ranked player in the world.

Lopez tees off at 8:30 a.m. and is playing in an all international group that includes Caroline Hedwall of Sweden and Belen Mozo of Spain.

Tubert, a Burbank, Calif., native, is scheduled for a 1:03 p.m. tee time in group #31.  She is playing with Natalie Gulbis and Pernilla Lindberg.

Lewis is in the next tee time at 1:14 p.m. and is playing with Lydia Ko and Jessica Korda.

“The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship is a special week for not only our community, but for our women's golf team,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said.  “Most of our players have the dream of playing on the LPGA Tour and there is no greater measuring tool than to play against the best players in the world right here at one of our home facilities.  The team competes all year to have an opportunity to tee it up during this week and this tournament gives them great feedback on where their games stand.  The support our players get during this week is amazing and we could not have asked for a better way to showcase our home and program through this outlet.  We have a special place here in Northwest Arkansas and to have the LPGA Tour here in our backyard is a great piece that allows us to continue to elevate our program to even greater heights.”

Lopez, a Mexico City, Mexico, native earned her first Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-America honor this week after leading Arkansas to as high as No. 4 in the national polls this season.  Lopez paced the team with a 72.85 stroke average and earned her second All-Southeastern Conference honor this year as well.

“For Gaby, this will be another great indicator for her to test her game and give us great feedback on the things we are working on to prepare her for the LPGA,” Estes-Taylor said.  “Her ultimate goal is to play the tour, and this experience is so valuable in getting her comfortable and ready for the next step in her golf career after she graduates.”

For more information on Arkansas women’s golf, follow @RazorbackWGolf on Twitter.

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