Webb Completes Career Grand Slam
Webb carded a 2-under 69 Sunday to finish the tournament at 14-under 270. It was her fifth major title in the last eight played on the LPGA Tour and her second in a row, as she blew away the field three weeks ago at the U.S. Women's Open.
With the win, Webb joined Mickey Wright, Louise Suggs, Pat Bradley and Juli Inkster as the only players to win four different majors in their LPGA careers.
'It's very overwhelming,' said Webb, who has won her last four major titles by a combined 25 strokes. 'It happened so quickly. This is the dream of all dreams. One day, it will sink in, but right now I'm at a loss for words.'
Last year, 24-year-old Tiger Woods became the youngest player to complete the Grand Slam when he won the British Open at St. Andrews. Webb is two years older, but needed seven fewer majors than Woods. After his first major victory at the 1997 Masters, Woods played in 14 more before he joined professional golf's elite. Webb needed only eight major tournaments to complete her Slam.
Webb walked into the final round with a three-shot edge over Diaz and Maria Hjorth but the lead was cut to two when Hjorth rolled home a 10-foot birdie putt at the opening hole.
From there, most thoughts of a comeback were quickly erased. Webb rattled off three birdies in a row, starting at the 2nd. She made putts from four feet, six feet and 18 feet to extend the lead to as many as six.
At the 8th, Webb dropped her first shot of the final round when she hit a 5-iron left of the green and missed the eight-foot save. She regained the lost stroke at the next hole with a 20-footer for birdie.
Diaz began to make things interesting around the turn. She holed an eight-foot birdie at the 9th and followed with a 15-footer at the next. Diaz drained a pair of 10-foot birdie putts at 11 and 12 and cut the lead down to three.
Webb collected six pars to open the back nine and when Diaz birdied the 17th, Webb countered with a 15-foot birdie at 16.
The lead was momentarily two when Webb bogeyed the 17th after she missed the green short and landed in a bunker. She blasted out to eight feet but two-putted for the bogey.
Diaz ran into trouble at the final hole. She drove into the right rough and then hit her 6-iron approach into a greenside sand trap. Diaz blasted out to six feet but missed the save to drop to 12-under, three shots behind the leader.
Webb did not play the 18th a whole lot better than Diaz. She missed the fairway left off the tee and then pushed a 6-iron right of the putting surface. Her delicate chip ran by the hole five feet where she missed the comeback, but tapped in to win the tournament by two.
The historical triumph for Webb was the talk of the tournament Sunday.
'To do it a year ahead of Mickey Wright, at a time when the depth of talent is the best it's ever been, will ultimately go down as one of the biggest achievements in women's golf,' said LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw.
'As far as pure golf, she's the best I've ever seen,' said Inkster, who was the last player to earn the career Grand Slam when she won the U.S. Open and LPGA Championship in 1999. 'She makes it look so effortless. I can't believe anybody could be as good as Karrie. If she keeps up this pace, she's going to shatter all the records.'
'Awesome. That sums it up right there,' said Diaz.
Webb almost withdrew from the tournament Sunday morning because her grandfather suffered a stroke a few days prior. She had booked a flight to leave with her parents Sunday afternoon but her father spoke with the family and they thought that her grandfather would want her to stay.
'I really didn't do it for myself today,' said Webb, who earned $225,000 for the victory. 'I did it for my grandad and I know it might not help out the situation, but my grandma told me on Thursday that she wanted me to win it for him.'
Karrie Webb comments on her Career Grand Slam
The next major for Webb will be the Women's British Open at Sunningdale Golf Club in August. Webb won the British Open, which replaced the du Maurier Classic as a major this year, at Sunningdale when she was only 20.
Diaz shot a 3-under 68 on Sunday but failed in her attempt at becoming the first player since Se Ri Pak in 1998 to make a major championship her first victory.
'I think from my perspective, it's another second and in a way, that's just because I'm still aching for that first win.'
Hjorth and Wendy Ward shared third at 10-under 274. Hjorth's chances faded at the 15th, when she carded a double-bogey and finished with a 1-under 70. Ward, the first-round leader, posted a 2-under 69 Sunday.
Annika Sorenstam, the winner of 2001's first major, the Nabisco Championship, birdied three of her last four on Sunday for a 67 and fifth place.
Becky Iverson and Laura Davies shared sixth at 8-under par. Had Davies won this event, she would have become eligible for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Full-field scores from the McDonald's LPGA Championship
Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.
Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.
Rahm (62) fires career low round
The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:
Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)
What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.
Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.
Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.
Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.
Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.
Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.
Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.