ROGERS, Ark. – Tournament officials announce today that sponsor exemptions for the 2020 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G have been extended to current Razorbacks Ela Anacona, Maria Hoyos and Brooke Matthews, as well as talented junior golfer Alexa Pano. The four amateurs join the 2020 #NWAChampionship tournament field to compete against 156 of the world’s best female golfers August 24-30, 2020 at Pinnacle Country Club.
“We are delighted to welcome Ela, Maria, Brooke and Alexa to this year’s tournament field,” stated Donna Morris, Walmart Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer. “One of the core missions of the #NWAChampionship is to empower others and provide greater opportunities for women. We look forward to providing these talented amateurs a valuable opportunity to test their games against the top female golfers in the world.”
The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G has a long-standing partnership with the University of Arkansas women’s golf team. The partnership was formalized in 2015 with the development of the Road to the #NWAChampionship program, awarding the top-ranked member of the team an exemption into the LPGA tournament, as well as spots for two additional golfers in the tournament’s qualifier round. Former Razorback stars Stacy Lewis, Gaby Lopez and Maria Fassi all competed in the #NWAChampionship as amateurs through the partnership. With the LPGA Tour’s elimination of qualifiers in 2020, the #NWAChampionship received two additional sponsor exemption spots, which were extended to current Razorbacks.
Ela Anacona, a sophomore hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, was the top-ranked member of the 2019-2020 Razorback women’s golf team, notching top-25 finishes in four of six events. Prior to her collegiate career, Ela was the top-ranked Argentinean amateur for three consecutive years, with impressive finishes at both the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America event and the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games.
Maria Hoyos joined the Razorback team from Pereira, Colombia and is entering her senior season this fall. Maria’s best performance of the season came at the IJGA Collegiate Invitational, where she finished tied for tenth. As a junior golfer, Maria was named an AJGA All-American.
Brooke Matthews, a native of Rogers, Arkansas and graduate of Rogers High School, completed her redshirt sophomore season this past year. During her collegiate career, Brooke was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, the Golfweek All-American Honorable Mention list and a WGCA All-American Scholar.
“So many of our players have the dream of playing at the next level, so receiving an exemption and having the opportunity to compete against the top professionals in the game is a tremendous opportunity,” said Shauna Taylor, University of Arkansas Women’s Head Golf Coach. “We cannot thank Walmart, P&G and the tournament enough for their ongoing support, which year after year proves invaluable to our program and our student-athletes.”
In addition to the three current Razorback student-athletes, Alexa Pano has also received an exemption to compete in the 2020 #NWAChampionship.
Alexa Pano is a 15 year old standout junior golfer, with over 60 tournament victories in her young career. Alexa competed in her first LPGA Tour event at age 13 and was the youngest player in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019. Alexa was also featured in the 2013 documentary film, The Short Game.
Announced in July, the 2020 #NWAChampionship will be contested without spectators in attendance, in efforts to promote the health and safety of the community. All three rounds of official tournament play will be broadcast on the Golf Channel. For additional information and the full broadcast schedule, please visit www.NWAChampionship.com.