IRVINE, Scotland – The weather blew more than bone-chilling wind and sideways rain into four days of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
It blew in some crazy storylines.
How about Mi Hyang Lee winning Sunday after showing up at the start of the week in a bit of a panic when she got off the plane in Glasgow and discovered her clubs didn’t arrive with her?
How about Hall of Famer Karrie Webb skillfully avoiding all the bunkers around Dundonald Links through 70 holes until finding a pot bunker at the 17th hole on Sunday? She was so stymied she had to play out backwards, setting up a double bogey. It would lead to her undoing after building a two-shot lead with three holes to play.
And how about Webb’s frustration not knowing if she needed a birdie or an eagle at the last to force a playoff with Lee?
Because . . .
“There was no leaderboard at the 18th,” Webb said. “It’s pretty bad to not have a leaderboard at the last.”
For Lee, who said she also didn’t know where she stood closing out with birdie at the last, playing in front of Webb, there was no denying her brilliant ball striking.
The 24-year-old South Korean played fabulously through tough weekend conditions. Though Lee didn’t see the heaviest of the rain at Saturday’s end, nobody escaped the brutish cold and hard winds that day brought.
Tied for 39th at 4-over par at the beginning of the weekend, Lee rallied from nine shots back to win her second LPGA title. She did it with a 68 on Saturday and a 66 on Sunday to finish one shot ahead of Webb and Mi Jung Hur.
Nobody else shot in the 60s both Saturday and Sunday.
“Big confidence from this win,” Lee said. “Gets me ready for the British Open next week.”
Lee will join the women’s best at Kingsbarns just outside St. Andrews for the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Lee’s excited about the fact that she’ll have her own clubs for the entire week as she bids to win her first major.
Lee flew from Boston to Iceland to Glasgow before the Ladies Scottish.
“I always wanted to see Iceland,” Lee said.
The downside was that her golf clubs spent way too much time in Iceland. They didn’t make Lee’s flight.
Lee said she had no idea where her ball was going during her Tuesday practice round in the high winds that she played with rental clubs featuring irons with regular shafts, instead of the stiff shafts she is accustomed to.
“My ball was flying everywhere,” Lee said.
Lee’s clubs showed up Wednesday, and she got to play nine holes in the pro-am with them, but only after a player withdrew, opening a pro-am spot for her.
Remarkably, Lee said this was just her third time playing in Scotland. She looked as if she grew up playing these tough conditions. In fact, Lee said she did learn to play in the wind after moving near the Incheon airport in South Korea when she was about 13. She said the wind always seems to blow hard off the Yellow Sea.
“It was like playing island golf,” Lee said.
Webb, 42, looked as if she was going to sew up her 42nd LPGA title - her first in three years - when she chipped in for eagle at the 14th to go two ahead of Lee. But Webb bogeyed the 16th, then ultimately lost the event after hitting her drive into a pot bunker at the 17th.
“I bent down, picked my tee up, thought I hit a perfect drive there,” Webb said.
Webb thought she “knotted” her 3-wood into position to set up birdie, but her caddie, Johnny Scott, delivered the bad news.
“He said it kicked into the bunker,” Webb said. “I have no idea how it did that.”
With Lee making birdie in front of her, Webb found herself two shots back at the last tee, but she said she didn’t know where she stood there.
There is a jumbo-sized TV screen at the 18th green, where the scoreboard was occasionally shown, along with live TV action and graphics, but there is no fixed leaderboard there.
Needing to make eagle, Webb knocked her second shot into the left greenside bunker. Webb said she didn’t know if she needed to make eagle or birdie when she set up over the bunker shot.
“That’s frustrating, to not know what you need to do,” Webb said.
Asked about the lack of a full-time scoreboard at the 18th, a tournament staffer said there were walking scorekeepers with each group who could have relayed Lee’s score to Webb. Blasting out of the greenside bunker, Webb ended up 8 feet short and holed the birdie putt.
In the end, Lee finished strongest, and it makes her a player to watch again this week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open