An incredible rise to the top of women's golf. A spectacular comeback for her first major championship. For someone accused of lacking personality, Karrie Webb's golf has been a thrill a minute.
Stealing some of the thunder from Juli Inkster's season, Webb charged from five strokes behind to win the du Maurier Classic today by making birdies on four of the last five holes.
"I don't ever try to think of myself as the best player in the world, but I played like I was today," said Webb, who closed with her second straight 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Laura Davies.
Webb won for the sixth time this year, and she already has won 15 tournaments in an LPGA Tour career that began just 3 1/2 years ago. The du Maurier was the biggest one yet--her first major championship, with several more likely to follow.
Her victory was not complete until Davies failed to make a 12-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-5 18th. Webb was showered with beer as she shared a tearful embrace with her mother, who travels from Australia to see her daughter play once a year.
"It feels awesome," said Webb, who finished at 11-under 277. "I just can't ever imagine that this would happen to me so quickly."
Just as quickly, Webb surged up the leader board with two crucial pars and a string of birdies, none longer than eight feet. Davies, who led by three strokes with just five holes to play, didn't need to see a leader board to find out what was going on.
Roars resounded through Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club with every critical putt Webb made down the stretch. She took only 12 putts on the back nine--the same as Inkster when she won the LPGA Championship, the same as Payne Stewart when he won the U.S. Open.
"I expected it," Davies said. "You can just sense it."
Clinging to a one-stroke lead before Webb made her final birdie, Davies three-putted the 17th green from 30 feet for bogey. She also three-putted the 18th, although the final putt was meaningless. She closed with a 72 for 279.
"If Webby hadn't been so good on the day, level par would have won," Davies said. "She's just the best player on tour this year. She proved it again."
Inkster's bid to win her third straight major championship and a berth in the LPGA Hall of Fame never materialized. She missed a six-foot birdie putt on the first hole, three-putted from 12 feet for double bogey on No. 4 and missed another short par putt on the 10th.
She finally got it going with five birdies on the last eight holes for a 69 that left her alone in third at 280, but all she could do was watch another amazing performance by Webb.
"This is her first major, and probably the first of many," said Dawn Coe-Jones, who closed with a 74 and finished fourth to be the top Canadian in the field.
Webb won $180,000 for the victory and shattered the LPGA Tour's season record with $1,254,051 in just 18 events. Annika Sorenstam set the previous mark of $1,236,789 in 22 events two years ago.