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.2014 Women’s Australian Open Photo Galleries 2014 Women’s Australian Open Leaderboard