Webb Makes Up Five-Stroke Deficit to Win
Webb birdied the par-5 17th to match Kim at 12-under par. Both players found the fairway at 18 but Kim's approach fell short of the green while Webb's landed 20 feet right of the flag.
Kim went right at the cup with her chip but ran it some six feet past the hole. Webb didn't put a good stroke on her birdie try, leaving it four feet short of the hole. Webb elected to clean up her par instead of marking, putting all of the pressure on Kim to match Webb with par.
Kim's par putt missed right to give Webb her second win at this event.
'Obviously, I was not really expecting this, but it is great,' said Webb, who also won in Rochester in 1999. 'I've been struggling for most of this year. I have played well early and struggled a little bit when I've needed to play good, but not today. I missed some shots, but all in all, I played well.'
Webb won for the 27th time in her LPGA career and for the 11th time in come-from-behind fashion. The first-place check for $180,000 pushed her over $8 million in career earnings.
The pivotal hole turned out to be the par-4 16th. Kim pushed her tee shot right and had to punch out to the fairway while Webb was in good shape. Kim's approach fell short of the green but she chipped to a foot to set up the kick-in bogey.
Webb landed 12 feet from the hole and calmly sank her birdie try to complete the two-shot swing and get within one of the lead.
At the 17th, both players came up short in their bids to reach the green in two. Webb chipped her third shot to 10 feet while Kim blew her chip 15 feet past the cup. Kim's birdie try needed one more roll to fall but Webb found the bottom of the cup with her putt, tying her for the lead.
Webb prevailed on 18 to sneak out with the win.
'I knew that it was anyone's tournament,' said Webb. 'I thought that I might have had an upper hand with the momentum after my birdie.'
For Kim, it was her second consecutive week as the runner-up. At last week's Evian Masters she finished second to Annika Sorenstam, but there she did not squander a four-shot advantage over the last six holes.
'Before the round, my feeling was bad, uncomfortable,' said Kim, who shot a final-round 74. 'I did not have confidence. I don't know why.'
Se Ri Pak, who won her second LPGA Championship title two weeks ago, closed with a 2-under 70 and took a solo third. She finished at 7-under-par 281.
Kristal Parker-Manzo shot a 69 Sunday and came in fourth at minus-four. Jennifer Rosales, Helen Alfredsson, Beth Daniel and Juli Inkster shared fifth at 3-under par.
Laura Davies, the 2001 champion, struggled badly on Sunday with a 12-over 84. She came into the round in third place but finished tied for 29th.
Full-Field Scores from the Rochester LPGA
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.