Womens British Open Proves Grand for Webb

By Martha BrendleAugust 11, 2002, 4:00 pm
Karrie Webb displayed pure tenacity during the final round of the Weetabix Womens British Open, navigating her game through adverse weather to finish with a comfortable two-stroke lead and the winners check worth a cool $225,000.
Weather was a key factor Sunday and Webb, who shot 33 on the front nine in tough conditions, knew that the others' inexperience would be a drawback. Yesterday, you know, I asked for a little bit of bad weather today and I got my wish for about five or six holes, I guess,
she said.
The LPGA veteran started the day three strokes off the lead set by 23-year-old Jenny Rosales and Carin Koch. The Aussie quickly made up ground, carding three birdies through the sixth while both Rosales and Koch struggled with their games.
Heading back to the clubhouse, Webb had her own struggle when she was informed her group was on the clock for slow play. Fortunately, I kept thing going and obviously made a great par save at 16, which really was a big key and then birdied 17, which I didn't know at that stage, but probably put the last nail in the coffin, she said.
She finished the day at 15-under, having recorded a final round of 6-under 66 on a day when others struggled just to stay under par, and in possession of her sixth major championship title won over the last five years.
This was the last title the former two-time Weetabix champion needed to completed the super Grand Slam. This accomplishment is achieved when a player has won every major within his or her playing career.
Webbs former wins at this event did not count towards the super Grand Slam since the Weetabix was not officially a major until 2001. I don't think it's still sunk in yet, the three-time champion said. I knew that coming into this week I did have a chance to win all five majors on the LPGA. It feels great. It's not a feat that everyone has a chance to do.
Fiery Spaniard Paula Marti tried to put the heat on Webb all day but the best she could manage was a second-place tie at 13-under 275 with Australias Michelle Ellis while Candie Kung, Jeong Jang, Catrin Nilsmark, and Jenny Rosales finished tied for fourth place at 11-under 277.
Former U.S. Open champion Meg Mallon had a great day, shooting 70 to finish at 10-under 278 and tied with 17 time AJGA winner Beth Bauer and Carin Koch.
Koch, still without a major win to her name, disintegrated on the back nine, making consecutive bogeys on the 12th and 13th and finishing with a disappointing 2-over for the day.
Marti has insured her spot on the European team for this years' Solheim Cup with her spectacular display of golf on Sunday. Marti recorded four birdies and a sole bogey on the 379-yard par-4 13th after missing the green left and leaving her chip shot six feet short of the hole.
It was tough out there today, I can tell you, S\said Marti, who has never before shot four consecutive rounds in the 60s. The first three holes it was blowing and it was raining a lot. I just told myself to be patient. And as you can see I made like seven pars in a row, Andy and I, we were just so patient today on the course today. I knew I was putting good and I knew I was playing good. I knew the birdies were coming, so I just needed to wait and don't rush, and that's what I did.
For Marti, who will join the LPGA Tour in the near future, Sundays second-place finish was a turning point in her career. I think I just show myself that I can play with the big ones,' she said. 'So if I can do it here in Europe, I can do it in America. That gives me a lot of confidence in my game and I'm going to go for everything now.
Marti has two wins on the Evian Tour.
Ellis has finished thirrd twice this year on the Australasian Tour, yet doesnt have a single top-10 finish this season on the LPGA Tour. Her previous best finish on the LPGA Tour was a tie for 11th at the Areus Electrolux.
In all she made seven birdies, two on the last two closing holes, and three bogeys to record a final round of 68 and come within two strokes of Webb. Karrie is a great player and to be up into her category and looked at in her category is pretty awesome in itself,' Ellis beamed. 'But we all strive to beat Webbie and Annika. And that's what we're out there to do. I love Webb to death, but she is a rival when we get out on the golf course.
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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.

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Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:26 am

PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.

With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.

After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.

“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”

It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.

Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.

“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”

Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.

“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”

Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).

Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.

“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”

Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.

“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”

Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.