Webb wraps up early, watches her score hold up for win
PHOENIX — Karrie Webb flew up the leaderboard with a course-record 9-under-par 63, then waited about 90 minutes to see if anyone could catch her in the JTBC Founders Cup.
No one could Sunday, giving the 39-year-old Australian her second victory of the season and second in four years at Desert Ridge’s Wildfire Golf Club.
”I didn’t expect to be sitting here at the start of the day,” Webb said. ”Even, actually, when I finished the day, I didn’t expect to be sitting here. So I feel a little bit lucky, I guess, to be sitting here. But it doesn’t make it feel any less special.”
For the second time in the event, Webb overcame a six-stroke deficit in the final round. In 2011 in the inaugural tournament, she shot a 66 for a one-stroke victory.
”I just love the feeling of this event,” Webb said.
The Hall of Famer had 10 birdies and a bogey, playing the back nine in 6-under 30. She birdied five of the last six holes, finishing with a 20-footer on the par-4 18th.
”I definitely putted probably the best I have all week,” Webb said. ”Worked on a few things last night and really got the ball rolling on the back nine.”
Webb also rallied to win the Women’s Australian Open last month and has 41 LPGA Tour victories to match founding player Babe Zaharias for 10th place.
Third-round leader Lydia Ko parred the final three holes to finish a stroke back along with 2013 winner Stacy Lewis, Azahara Munoz, Amy Yang and Mirim Lee.
The 16-year-old Ko shot 70. She had a three-stroke lead after birdieing Nos. 2-5, slipped back with bogeys on Nos. 6, 9 and 11 and pulled within one with a birdie on the par-5 15th.
”I tried to get myself together,” Ko said. ”I made some bogeys at the wrong time, which wasn’t ideal, but I tried my best until the last.”
Munoz and Yang, playing together in the third-to-last group, missed long birdie putts on 18 and each shot 67. Lee shot 69 in the next group, also missing a long birdie try.
That left Ko – and her 25-foot try on the last was just short and right.
”I played really well overall, so I’m just going to take the positive out of it,” Ko said.
Lewis birdied the final two holes for a 66.
”Unfortunately, I just came up one shot short,” Lewis said. ”But to finish the way I did, it was just really nice to hit the shots and make the putts at the end of the round. Seeing putts go in always helps going into the next couple of weeks.”
Webb donated $50,000 of her $225,000 check, giving $25,000 to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and $25,000 to ”The Founders” documentary film about the 13 women who started the tour. Webb did an interview for the film this week and learned that only about 10 percent of the necessary money had been raised for the movie.
”I was just standing on the 18th green when Mike (Whan, LPGA Tour commissioner) was introducing me, and it just came to me that, `You know, I would love to be a part of that movie being produced.”’
Webb is close friends with Louise Suggs, the 90-year-old founding player who was unable to attend the event this year.
”She called me Friday night,” Webb said. ”She told me that I had to go out and shoot 64 yesterday, which I let her down and I didn’t do that. So, I made it up to her today.”
DIVOTS: Jessica Korda, playing with Ko in the last group, had a quadruple-bogey 8 on the par-4 seventh after hitting her approach into the desert, then played the final 11 holes in 5 under to tie for seventh at 17 under. The Bahamas winner closed with a 70. . . . Hee-Won Han also matched the course record with a 63 to tie for 15th at 14 under. Playing in the ninth group of the day, she holed a sand wedge for eagle on No. 7 and had only 24 putts. Ai Miyazato set the course record in the first round last year, and Cristie Kerr matched it Saturday. Kerr finished with a 67 to tie for 10th at 16 under. . . . Top-ranked Inbee Park also closed with a 67 to tie for 10th.