Pak Wins Playoff Over Webb


McDonaldHAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- Se Ri Pak gave Karrie Webb a taste of her own medicine.
On their first playoff hole at the LPGA Championship on Sunday, Pak knocked her approach shot at the par-4 18th within inches -- nearly holing out the way Webb did to force a playoff at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April.
The shot set up a birdie, which Pak made to claim her fifth career major and third LPGA Championship. It was the second-straight thrilling finish to an LPGA major after Webb parlayed her eagle at the Kraft Nabisco into a playoff win over Lorena Ochoa.
Se Ri Pak
Se Ri Pak enjoys the celebration after winning her fifth major championship.
Pak and Webb finished 72 holes at 8-under-par 280 -- Pak after a 3-under 69 on Sunday and Webb following a 4-under 68.
Webb held the clubhouse lead when Pak missed a 10-foot par putt at the 18th hole to fall into a tie -- a putt Pak called 'amazingly fast.'
From that disappointment to a leaping celebration into her caddie's hands after the playoff approach -- what a range of emotions for Pak.
'I'm soaking wet from champagne, and I can do that every week,' Pak joked. 'I have no problem with that.'
The playoff snatched the spotlight away from other high-profile names competing for a major victory Sunday, namely 16-year-old Michelle Wie and Annika Sorenstam, who entered as the three-time defending champion.
Wie opened poorly when she knocked her approach at the first hole over the green on the way to a bogey. It was the first of four bogeys in an even-par round for Wie, who finished tied for fifth place at 6-under-par 282.
It was the fourth top-five finish in the last five major starts for Wie. She had a chance to make the playoff, too, but a long birdie putt at the 18th rolled too far past the hole and led to her final bogey.
'It's kind of frustrating,' Wie said of finishing in the top five again, 'but I feel like I'm getting closer and closer. I'm getting myself ready for the U.S. Open now.'
Sorenstam made a run with six birdies in a 10-hole stretch -- including four straight from the ninth -- but came up three shots short in her bid to become the first LPGA player to win the same major in four consecutive years.
Sorenstam shot a 4-under 68 to get to 5-under-par 283, but could have been two shots better if not for a two-stroke penalty she incurred Saturday for improperly moving a divot.
The world No. 1 has just one victory this season. Last year, her win at the LPGA Championship was the sixth of 10 titles she claimed in 2005.
For a while Sunday, when she was collecting birdies at a feverish pace, Sorenstam felt like she had broken free of her 'slump.'
'Finally I got on a run and I felt really good about everything,' she said. 'I was hitting it close, I was making good putts and it felt fun.
'But I came down the stretch and I felt a little nervous.'
That nervousness led to a bogey at the 18th hole, where she had a birdie putt -- albeit a long one -- to tie for the on-course lead heading into the clubhouse.
'I was just so in the moment, I don't know what I was thinking on 18,' Sorenstam said after three-putting. 'I was trying to get to 7 (under) and I was just a little too aggressive.'
Mi Hyun Kim and Ai Miyazato finished tied for third place, one shot behind Pak and Webb at 7-under-par 281. Kim shot a 1-under 71, while Miyazato -- the co-third round leader with Pat Hurst -- was on par with a 72.
Hurst shared fifth place with Wie, Cristie Kerr (68) and Shi Hyun Ahn (72) after a disappointing final-round 73.
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