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Open and Shut Case Webb Wins Again

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Karrie Webb has let the lead slip out of her fingers only eight of the 22 times that shes led an event going into the final round.

Sunday was not one of those times. The defending champion had her sights set on a win this week and she got it in championship style by capturing a second straight U.S. Womens Open title with a birdie on the final hole to finish at 7-under-par 273.
 
Free Video - Registration Required Karrie Webb comments on her win at the U.S. Open
 
Her name now joins six other women in the history books who have won two Womens Opens ' Louise Suggs (1949, '52), Donna Caponi (1969, '70), JoAnne Carner (1971, '76), Betsy King (1989, '90), Patty Sheehan (1992, '94) and Annika Sorenstam (1995, '96). She also takes home this years top prize of $520,000.
 
I feel fortunate enough to have won one, but to win two, back-to-back is -- you just really can't put it into words. It's a dream come true, Webb said.
 
Pine Needles, a Donald Ross design, commands course management. It was imperative for Webb to keep that in the forefront of her mind during the final round.
 
Even with a five-shot lead entering her round, the indomitable Aussie was aware that she couldnt let her guard down for a moment. Looking to reclaim her throne, Webb played the final round conservatively, but not without mistakes. She made bogey on the 413-yard par-4 2nd to reduce her lead to four strokes.
 
Playing partner Se Ri Pak narrowed the margin after making birdie on the 4th to move to 2-under and a mere three shots off the lead.
 
Webb then held steady with par until the 7th, where she would reclaim ground with her second birdie of the day to move to 6-under-par. Another birdie on the 10th gave the Aussie a six-shot lead as Pak had dropped back to 1-under.
 
Webb and Pak both bogeyed the 11th and Webb went on to bogey the 15th as well. But Webb recovered with a birdie on the 17th to move back to 6-under-par for the third time Sunday. The winner then closed with a sweet birdie on the last.
 
'It felt pretty good to walk up 18th feeling comfortable,' said Webb, who carded a Sunday 69.
 
'If it's the only tournament I win all year, it's the U.S. Open, and no one can take that away from me.'
 
Pak finished at 1-over 281 (69-70-70-72) taking home $310,000 in second-place prize money.
 
UP AND DOWN
Michelle Redman started the day tied for 17th and played her way into a tie for 4th during the final round Sunday. However, trouble started on the 14th. At 2-under, she would finish her last five holes with three bogeys and a closing double-bogey to end the round at 2-over. Redman finished tied for 16th at 7-over 287 for the championship.
 
The miracle Annika Sorenstam was looking for Saturday night never came. Sorenstam (70-72-73-72) completed her 7th Open appearance tied with Redman and Emilee Klein (72-69-75-71) at 7-over-par 287.
 
Candy Hannemann, age 20, missed the cut at the 1998 Womens Open but faired much better at this years championship. A junior at Duke University competing in her second Open, she received low amateur honors after finishing at 11-over-par 291 (73-73-77-73). The Brazil native won the 2000 Brazil Womens Amateur championship and was a member of Dukes winning 2000 NCAA team.
 
She will continue to play the amateur circuit until graduation next May. Im going to play a couple of tournaments this summer and return (to Duke) for my senior year, Hannemann professed. After that Ill turn pro.
 
Amateur Natalie Gulbis (73-71-75-73) finished at 12-over 292, while Stephanie Keever (69-72-83-77) and Christina Kim (73-73-75-75) both finished at 16-over-par 296.
 
Keever, who is planning on turning pro the day after she graduates from Stanford University, fell into the Donald Ross trap Saturday. Ross designed the greens at Pine Needles with sloping edges that drop as far as 3-8 feet below the putting surface.
 
Keever, who had a fantastic opening round of 1-under 69, learned all too well how important a short game is on this course. She faltered Saturday - recording a gruesome sextuple-bogey on the 351-yard par 4 12th.
 
NEWS AND NOTES
 
- The U.S. Womens Open will return to Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., in 2007. This will mark the fourth time the U.S. Womens Open will be played at Pine Needles (1928, 1996, 2001). According to The New York Times, the 1928 Womens Mid-South Open Championship, played at Pine Needles, is reported to be the first Womens Open Championship in the United States.
 
- Three pregnant women participated in this years U.S. Women's Open Championship ' Kristie Albers (6 mo. pregnant), Brenda Corrie Kuehn (8 mo. pregnant) and Jennifer Greggain (5 mo. pregnant). Of the three, Albers, playing in her last event until after the birth of her child, was the only competitor to make the cut. Albers is married to TV sports announcer Fred Albers.
 
- Thirteen-year-old Morgan Pressel quickly bounced back from not making the cut. She went right from press interviews to Javanoid, a Space Invader-like computer game, which she played on one of the media official's computers.
 
- Christina Kim of San Jose, CA, along with her caddie, wore rubber-spiked sandals while playing the Open this year.
 
Full-field scores from the U.S. Women's Open