ROGERS (KFSM) - Ayako Uehara has struggled the past two seasons on the LPGA Tour but Friday's opening round at the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship was a career day.
Uehara, a native of Japan, torched Pinnacle Country Club for a 9-under 62 which tied both the course record and her personal best round as a professional.
"I got a chip-in birdie today, and then, you know, the swing and putting, everything, of course I have the confidence now, so I'm going to keep it for the next two days," Uehara said.
Uehara has not finished in the top-10 in the past two seasons and made just 17 cuts out of 38 starts but her bogey free round has her in front of Candie Kung by two strokes.
Former Arkansas Razorback Stacy Lewis posted a 4-under 67 and despite being five strokes off the lead, the former No. 1 player in the world was fairly pleased with her opening round.
"Its important to have a good start which I did and I played really solid," Lewis said. "I would have liked to make a few more putts but that's as solid as I've hit the ball in a long time."
Gaby Lopez, another former Razorback, was making her first start in Rogers as a professional and she carded a 3-under 68.
"It was great to start with a birdie and I made a couple down the stretch on the front nine but it was nice to play at home as a professional for sure," Lopez said. "I think I feel a little more comfortable than last year."
The Razorbacks' Alana Uriell fired a 1-under 70 after she qualified for the tournament on Monday with a 64 on the same course. Teammate Maria Fassi received an exemption into the tournament but struggled and finished at 3-over. Regina Plasencia just finished her career at Arkansas and fired an opening round 72 and sits 10 strokes off the pace.