Australians cheered her on as Karrie Webb steadily played her way through a crowded leaderboard from a first round 39th place finish to 29th in the second round to 13th in the third round and then to a victorious finish. For Webb, who plays on the LPGA, LET, and ALPG Tours, this was her 52nd pro victory and her 5th ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open.
Webb wasn’t the only player who scrambled during the windy final round. About mid-way through the final round there was a four-way tie for the lead, but when the cards were signed and everybody was in the clubhouse the player described as “the legendary Karrie Webb” in the ALPG press release had won the Open by a single shot.
South Korean Chella Choi, who wasn’t able to repeat her record-breaking 3rd round, finished at -10 and took a solo 2nd place. American Paula Creamer, who like Webb had played steady competitive golf through three rounds, did it one more time and climbed up from a 23rd place start to a 3rd place finish that she shared with Frenchwoman Karin Icher, and Kiwi Lydia Ko.
The Top-10 Ranked Players
Karrie Webb started the final round trailing co-leaders Chella Choi and Minjee Lee by 5 shots. Playing rather early in the day and well ahead of the leaders, Webb clinched her victory with a birdie putt on the 18th hole, but then had to wait in the clubhouse while the tournament played out during the final nine holes.
When you’re on the course you feel like you have some control, but when you’re done you have no control and you just have to wait and see . . .
Karrie Webb, 5-Time Australian Open Winner
With rounds of 68, 68, 68 & 73, Rolex Ranked No. 4 Lydia Ko flirted with the top of the board. The dauntless teenager is making a wonderful start on her LPGA rookie year, with three top-10 finishes in three events and close to $100K in the bank.
America’s top-ranked golfer at the Australian Open, Rolex Ranked No. 3 Stacy Lewis, started the final round trailing the lead by six shots. Lewis managed the wind skillfully and finished at -9, sharing the sixth spot on the board with South Korean Jenny Shin and Americans Morgan Pressel and Amelia Lewis.
Suzann Pettersen took a disappointing tumble down the leaderboard during the final round from a 4th place starting position, three shots off the lead, to a 29th place finish. With a triple, two doubles and 3 bogeys on her card, Pettersen’s run at the top of the Rolex Rankings will have to wait for another day and another tournament.
Beyond the Spotlight: Fan Picks
Yani Tseng, the magic elusive, struggled through the final round at the Australian Open. She looked good on the front nine and was -3 for the round at the turn. Then disaster struck, coming in the form of four bogeys and a catastrophic double on the 18th hole. Tseng went to the house at +1 for the tournament.
Cheyenne Woods also had troubles in the final round. She doubled the par-3 seventh hole and then gave back shots on 10, 11, and 18, finishing the round at +2 and the tournament at -4.
Frenchwoman Perrine Delacour’s remarkable third round 65 put her in the 13th spot on the board, starting the final round even with Karrie Webb. She couldn’t sustain the pace, doubled three holes and bogeyed two, carded 74, and finished the Open at -6, just outside the top-10.
Rookie Line Vedel finished the Open at two strokes over par. Her fourth round, like Tseng’s and Woods’s, was dragged down by a triple, a pair of doubles, and a pair of bogeys.
Rolex Ranked No. 36, American Gerina Piller, who started the Australian Open with a disastrous first round that included a 9 on the par-4 sixth hole, pulled herself together and followed with three sub-par rounds and a solo 10th place finish!
Coming Up Next
The LPGA Tour goes next to Chonburi, Thailand, where Rolex Ranked No. 1 Inbee Park will make her 2013 debut and defend her title at the Honda LPGA Thailand, February 20-23. The field includes all the Rolex Ranked top-10 players and a hot contest.
The Ladies European Tour goes next to Haikou, China and the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship, March 6-9, where the field includes Shanshan Feng, Inbee Park, Suzannn Pettersen, and Minjee Lee.
Golf Channel will provide coverage on the Honda LPGA Thailand and I’ll preview and provide updates on the rounds for both events.