Webb sails home to windy Australian Open win number five

Carrie Webb AO 14 595By Brian O’Hare

WHO would have thought wind in Melbourne would prove so popular but that was the case for Australian golfing great Karrie Webb on Sunday as she snatched her fifth Women’s Australian Open title.

After three windless days at the Victoria Golf Club Webb said she “liked her chances” as soon as a strong breeze greeted competitors to the fourth round.

The tough conditions allowed Webb to come from five strokes behind and post an equal best round of the day of 4-under 68 to overtake her younger rivals.

The 39 year old began the day adrift of overnight leaders Chella Choi of Korea and Aussie Amateur Champion MinJee Lee and posted the clubhouse lead at 12-under with six groups still to finish.

Webb had to wait till the very end when Choi missed a birdie attempt on the 18th that would have forced a playoff.

“If we had another day like we had the first three days, I probably was a little too far back to have a chance, so I was thankful for the weather changing and I played as good as I have in a very long time,” Webb said.

There is little doubt in many minds that Webb is Australia’s greatest golfer – male or female. Her numbers speak for themselves.

The win was her fifth Australian Open, 40th LPGA victory and 52nd career victory. Add that to her record eight Australian Masters and seven Major victories.

Choi, after her course record 62 on Saturday, closed with a 2-over 74 to finish outright second on 11-under.

“Today there was a lot of wind,” Choi said. “On the second I went out of bounds on the right hand side and that was a really big problem for me. It was a hard game today. I don’t like that part. Karrie played so good today.”

America’s Paula Creamer, battling a cold all week, also finished with a 68 to tie for fourth on 10-under along with 16 year old Lydia Ko (73) and France’s Karine Icher (71).

Webb was clearly delighted with the win after bombing out ignobly last week at the Masters when she signed for an incorrect scorecard.

“I’m not sure if I saw it coming, but sometimes for me the tougher the conditions the better because I have to really get out of my head,” she said. “I have to not think technically.  I think when the conditions are milder you try to be more perfect, I think because the conditions are easy so you should be shooting low scores.  When the conditions are tough I think I get out of that mindset and I just feel the shot that I need to. That’s what I was doing today.”

Webb was full of praise for WA amateur Lee, saying in tough conditions it was often easier to come from behind than to hold on to a lead.

“She’s got more talent in her little finger than I had at 17,” Webb said. “She should hold her head up high.  She’s played very well the last two weeks, probably the best out of anyone consistently the last two weeks.  She should be really proud of herself.  You’ll definitely see a lot more of her.”

The 2014 Women’s Australian Open was a big success with local crowds, who were greeted with the news the tournament would likely return to nearby neighbour Royal Melbourne next year.

Five time British Open winner Peter Thomson was quick to congratulate the now five time Australian Open winner Karrie Webb
Five time British Open winner Peter Thomson was quick to congratulate the now five time Australian Open winner Karrie Webb

Flies have been a real pain at the Victoria Golf Club for the Women’s Australian Open this year. Don’t know whether it is the recent bushfires, drought conditions or what, but the little mongrels have been in plague proportions. Players, volunteers and spectators have tried all manner of self-defence measures. The competitor pictured tried adorning herself with basil but reported it was only partially successful. Many of the volunteer women marshals were swearing by twigs of rosemary stuck into their caps while one male volunteer went the whole hog and wore full outback style head covering. Many of the players were swiping flies with twigs, towels or whatever they could lay their hands on. The pro shop did a roaring trade in conventional insect repellent but as we all know, not all flies seem to take any notice of it. The much cooler conditions and for the first time some real wind  for the final round made scoring more difficult but thankfully it got rid of most of the flies.

Flies have been a real pain at the Victoria Golf Club for the Women’s Australian Open this year. Don’t know whether it is the recent bushfires, drought conditions or what, but the little mongrels have been in plague proportions. Players, volunteers and spectators have tried all manner of self-defence measures. The competitor pictured tried adorning herself with basil but reported it was only partially successful. Many of the volunteer women marshals were swearing by twigs of rosemary stuck into their caps while one male volunteer went the whole hog and wore full outback style head covering. Many of the players were swiping flies with twigs, towels or whatever they could lay their hands on. The pro shop did a roaring trade in conventional insect repellent but as we all know, not all flies seem to take any notice of it. The much cooler conditions and for the first time some real wind for the final round made scoring more difficult but thankfully it got rid of most of the flies.
The “Pink Panther” briefly became the “Pied Piper” during the second round of the Women’s Australian Open at the Victoria Golf Club. Paula Creamer hit her tee shot right of the fairway on the 8th and chose to walk to her ball on a pathway outside the ropes. She’s the one in the lead of this procession of golf fans.
The “Pink Panther” briefly became the “Pied Piper” during the second round of the Women’s Australian Open at the Victoria Golf Club. Paula Creamer hit her tee shot right of the fairway on the 8th and chose to walk to her ball on a pathway outside the ropes. She’s the one in the lead of this procession of golf fans.
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Brian is an award winning golf writer and is the founder and editor of Australian Senior Golfer. He is a former Sydney journalist who had little interest in golf till he hit his first ball at the age of 49 (and a half). Since then golf has just about overtaken his life. Brian founded ASG in April 2008 and has since covered every Australian Open, Presidents Cups, World Cups and numerous other big men’s and women’s tournaments, spending days inside the ropes with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Karrie Webb, and many others. He has also played in, and reported on, numerous amateur tournaments, particularly senior and veteran events, around the country. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Media Association and won the award for Best News Report for 2016 - 2017

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