Golf enthusiasts gain the opportunity to experience something new in Northwest Arkansas as the region is the site of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf National Championships, played at The Blessings Golf Club.
The women’s event starts with a practice round on Thursday and the first round of the tournament is the following day. The women’s final will be May 22.
Men’s play is May 24-29.
The 24 women’s teams in the tournament include Arkansas and a few of its Southeastern Conference foes: Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Mississippi. The 2018 national champion (Arizona), 2018 individual champion (Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest) and 2018 National Player of the Year (Maria Fassi of Arkansas) will be playing.
The Arkansas men’s team didn’t make it to the national championships, but freshman Julian Perico did advance and will play in the tournament as an individual thanks to his strong play at the Austin Regional.
The national championships in Northwest Arkansas will offer something that’s never been provided at an NCAA golf championship: Free admission. The University of Arkansas announced on April 9 that Tyson Foods and the Tyson family had provided funding that would allow all attendees to receive complimentary tickets over the entire two weeks.
Physical tickets will not be needed for entrance into the event. Instead, commemorative tickets will be given to attendees upon entrance into the event. Parking will be free as well.
“We felt it was imperative to provide people throughout Arkansas every opportunity to watch the country’s best collegiate golfers compete for the NCAA title on a course worthy of crowning a champion,” said Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson, who owns The Blessings Golf Club.
Talk Business & Politics last month published an interview with Tyson about the thrill of hosting the national championships at the course he owns. The Blessings was built 15 years ago, taking golfers from the areas in the floodplain near Clear Creek to spots 65 feet above it on a plateau. The course is recognized across Arkansas for its difficulty and the challenges it provides to even the best golfers.
There remain opportunities to volunteer and help out with the NCAA tournament that’s about to start. So far, more than 375 people have signed up to volunteers in a variety of areas, and there’s more information available about volunteering and how to get involved.
A complete schedule of NCAA tournament events over the next two weeks is available on a Razorbacks athletics webpage.
Pictured at the top: University of Arkansa golfer Maria Fassi is among the players in the women’s field at the NCAA Women’s Golf National Championships at The Blessings Golf Club in Northwest Arkansas.