HWC 2011_Round 4_Karrie Webb with Trophy_Photo Credit to Getty Images
Holds off Japanese star Arimura, World #1 Tseng for 37th LPGA victory in Singapore
Singapore, 27 February 2011 – Karrie Webb of Australia collected one of women’s golf’s most prestigious titles when she won the 2011 HSBC Women’s Champions at Tanah Merah Country Club in Singapore after a final-day duel with Japan’s Chie Arimura and world number one Yani Tseng from Chinese Taipei.
Webb recorded a last-day 69 to finish on a 72-hole aggregate of 13-under 275 and edge Arimura (71 today) by a single stroke. Tseng, the world number one and winner of four consecutive events coming into the HSBC Women’s Champions, finished outright third at 10-under 278 after a 67 today, with Korean Sung Young Yoo’s 69 allowing her to finish fourth two shots further back.
Morgan Pressel was fifth at seven-under, with Na Yeon Choi (sixth) and IK Kim (seventh) rounding out the leading finishers at the Garden Course.
However, it was Webb who was the star of show in posting her first victory since the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International in 2009, a barnstorming run of four consecutive birdies from the 11th helping her grab hold of a lead she would never relinquish. Despite a bogey at 15, a final birdie at the following hole allowed her the luxury of taking the title with two closing pars.
Said Webb: “It was a very up and down day. I started off a little slowly and managed my game pretty well and then obviously Yani made a great run on the front nine. So was getting a little frustrated and I had gotten three shots behind.
“But I knew there was still a lot of golf left and I think my patience paid off, because I put a great swing on a four-iron on the next and Chie bogeyed and so I was back to one shot behind. So just like that, I felt really back in the tournament and rolled off another three birdies.
“It's definitely a world class event and you have the best players in the world here and great players have won this event. For me, personally, to win this event, to win this early in the year, I really hope it sets things up for a great run in 2011,” she added.
In addition to the first-prize cheque of US$210,000, Webb also collected a unique cherry-blossom design necklace, created to represent the national flower of the home country of last year's HSBC Women's Champions winner, Ai Miyazato.
Appropriate for HSBC’s ‘Champions of Champions’ title, the victory was Webb’s 37th on the LPGA Tour and maintained the event’s incredible link to the world’s very best players. All three previous champions – Lorena Ochoa (2008), Shin Jiyai (2009) and Ai Miyazato (2010) – have been ranked number one in the world, while Webb was the dominant player in the game through 1999 and 2000 with 13 victories in that two-year stretch, which was prior to the formation of the Rolex Rankings.
Amongst the other stars in the HSBC Women’s Champions’ powerhouse field, Cristie Kerr shared ninth, the world’s second-ranked player Jiyai Shin, the 2009 HSBC Women’s Champions winner, was 11th, defending champion Ai Miyazato was 14th and Suzann Pettersen 16th. Paula Creamer shared 24th and Michelle Wie finished 40th.
The remarkable Tseng, who won last week’s season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand as part of her streak, scorched out of the blocks with five front-nine birdies, including three in a row from the fifth, to apply incredible pressure to Arimura and draw within one shot of her lead alongside Webb.
However, the diminutive Japanese matched the birdies of both Tseng and Webb on the ninth and added another at the following hole when she hit her approach to six inches from the pin. Combined with bogeys to both the world number one and Webb at the 10th, Arimura’s lead soon became three shots.
The seesaw battle continued, though, when Arimura missed a short putt to bogey number 11 while Webb made a birdie. The lead was back to one almost immediately, before Webb reeled off three more birdies in a row to build a two-shot lead of her own and set herself on her way to victory.
Amura was left to rue some untimely missed putts on the greens in the chase for her first LPGA victory, short misses at both 11 and 12 costing her the chance to maintain her hard-earned lead.
Said the 23-year-old Arimura, a seven-time winner on the Japan LPGA: “I am very happy overall, but I'm disappointed with the result. My putting was not good enough today.
“Both (Tseng and Webb) are really good players and Yani is really aggressive. And Karrie is really smart, also. She is very calm and really a good player,” she said.
For Tseng, her stunning charge from six shots behind overnight faded after a bogey at the 10th, although the world’s top-ranked player was happy to continue her rich vein of form with third place.
Said Tseng: “I am very happy, four wins is pretty good. Five would be perfect, but that's golf. This is why golf is so much fun. I played great on the front nine, but I just couldn't get it on the back nine. Karrie played very well on the back nine and she deserved to win. I'm very happy to see her win this tournament.
“When I was younger, I watched Karrie playing golf all the time. The first time played with Karrie, I was so nervous and that first time she shot 62, so I never forgot. I have learned lots of things from Karrie Webb,” she said.
Photo - Getty Images