LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Betting Preview: Will Lydia Ko Turn Things Around?

LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Betting Preview: Will Lydia Ko Turn Things Around? article feature image
Credit:

Brian Spurlock, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Lydia Ko

  • The 2019 LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship begins on Friday, June 28 at Pinnacle Country Club.
  • Jeremy Pond previews the tournament and suggests a few outright and matchup bets.

Talk about coming close to back-to-back wins that would have been at a nice price.

After hitting with Brooke Henderson at the LPGA Meijer Classic two weeks ago, Sung Hyun Park narrowly missed getting over the line at last week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club, coming up just short against surprise winner Hannah Green.

Park birdied the final hole to put pressure on the Australian, who needed a clutch up-and-down to secure her maiden title and one-shot victory.

Now, we switch gears from Minnesota and head to Razorback country for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club. Once again, there is a ton of value on the board, with no player sitting under double-digit odds entering Thursday’s opening round.

Brooke Henderson, who got us a win two weeks ago at the 12-1 odds, and Jin Young Ko – the No. 1 player in the latest Rolex world rankings – are your current co-favorites at 12-1 odds in what looks to be a wide-open, three-day event. We are fading both players this week and look to deliver a winner at a better price.

Without further ado, these are this week’s top plays:

Lydia Ko (+2800)

There probably hasn’t been a golfer who has seen her career do more of a 180-degree turn in the wrong direction (Yani Tseng would be her closest competitor) over the past few years on the tour.

How bad has that downward spiral been for the former world’s No. 1 player? Let’s take a look.

Ko amassed 12 wins, an insane 34 Top-5 finishes and 47 Top 10s, between 2014 and 2016.

Since then, the New Zealand star has just one victory, nine Top 5s and 24 Top 10s on her resume. I remember telling Jason Sobel of The Action Network that things would go awry for Ko when she decided to change coaches, caddies and her choice of clubs right at the peak of her greatness and, boy, did they ever.

That all said, I feel like the Ko train is about to start chugging along in the right direction. In the prime of her career, you couldn’t get better than 4-1 or 5-1 odds on her at the start of a tournament. This week, we’re getting 28-1 on her and actually love the number.

Ko won this tournament three years ago and wound up a respectable T9 in the 2018 edition of the Arkansas event. Combine that history with her solid T10 finish at last week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, highlighted by her final-round 68, and this could be the place where Ko puts it all together and finds her way back in the winner’s circle.

Minjee Lee +1400

The Australian has been fantastic for much of the season, picking up a win at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open earlier this season. Lee put up back-to-back runner-up finishes prior to that at the Honda LPGA Thailand and HSBC Women’s World Championship as well.

The world’s No. 3-ranked player has a strong record at the Walmart event, chalking up four consecutive Top-10 finishes.

So Yeon Ryo (+1400)

The 2017 Walmart champion has been some solid golf as of late, reeling off T10 finishes or better in her past three events. Ryu, who is currently ranked 11th in the latest Rolex standings, is looking for her seventh tour win and first since last year’s LPGA Meijer Classic.

Inbee Park (+1600)

The LPGA Hall of Famer is still looking for her first win of the season, but signs point to her finding her way into the winner’s circle soon during the 2019 campaign. Park, who finished tied for seventh last week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, also landed T16 finishes at the Meijer LPGA Classic and U.S. Women’s Open in the prior two events.

Park, the No. 9-ranked player in the world, also wound up tied for sixth place at the 2017 Walmart event. This could be very well be the week that Park gets her 20th career tour victory.

Moriya Jutanguarn (+3500)

Our under-the-radar play of the week comes via the Thai standout. Jutanugarn, the older sister to multi-major championship winner Ariya Jutanugarn, has carved out a nice career of her own thus far and should be in the hunt for her second tour title on the weekend in Arkansas.

Jutanugarn has a stellar track record at this event, just missing out on the crown two of the last three years. The 2013 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year finished tied for 15th at last year’s tournament, which included a sizzling 64 in the opening round. She just missed winning in Arkansas back in 2017, shooting rounds of 66-65-66 to finish in a tie for second place. In 2016, she wound up tied for fourth place.

Absolutely love this play, as well as her head-to-head matchup below, and would not be shocked if Jutanugarn found the winner’s circle for the first time since 2018.

Longshots

Brittany Altomare (+9000)

At some point, Altomare is going to break through and get her first win on the tour. The American wound up tied for 26th at Hazeltine and nearly grabbed that elusive victory two weeks ago at the Meijer LPGA Classic, where she finished tied for second place. Altomare came close last year in Arkansas, earning a tie for third place at the Walmart event.

Mirim Lee (100-1)

I have always been a fan of the South Korean, who put it together at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, picking up a share of seventh place. Lee finished tied for 15th last year in Arkansas, which included a round of 64 in the opening 18 holes. She wound up in the top 20 in 2017, finishing in a tie for 19th place.

Matchups

Lydia Ko (-115) over Sei Young Kim

This is a Pick’em matchup for the most part and we love Ko to cash for us. Kim missed the cut the last time she played this event, which coincidentally came in 2016 when Ko won the title. That year, Kim missed the cut and hasn’t been back since. Play Ko with confidence.

Moriya Jutanugarn (-110) over Jessica Korda

Going with the slight underdog in this matchup for all the reasons we mentioned above. Jutanugarn should be a bigger favorite against Korda, who missed the cut at last year’s event.

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