Entering the most crucial stretch of the LPGA season, Karrie Webb suddenly has become a major force.
With two major championships (the McDonald’s LPGA Championship and U.S. Women’s Open) looming in the next four weeks, the Australian dominated the final two rounds of the Kellogg-Keebler Classic, following an 8-under 64 in Round 2 with a bogey-free 67 in the final round June 6 at Stonebridge Country Club.
It was the 30th career victory for the world’s former No. 1 player, but only her second in the past two years. Still, after her 16-under total defeated three players – including her successor at No. 1, Annika Sorenstam – by five shots, Webb seemed prepared to make a strong run at adding to her career total of six majors. Last season was the first since 1998 that Webb hadn’t won a major title.
“In the next six or seven weeks, if you have a couple of good weeks, that pretty much makes your year,” Webb said. “I think anyone that isn’t fired up right now shouldn’t probably be out here.”
Webb, 29, entered the final round with a two-shot lead and pushed the lead to four with three birdies in a four-hole stretch (Nos. 6, 7 and 9).
The few times Webb found trouble, she escaped without dropping a shot. On the par-4 sixth, Webb pulled her drive into thick rough but hit a strong approach onto the green and made a 20-foot putt for birdie. On the par-4 16th, Webb hit her approach in the bunker but blasted out to 15 feet and saved par. She then punctuated her victory with a 10-foot birdie on 18.
“I got my putter going good, which felt great,” Webb said. “I didn’t make too many mistakes. . . . This week, I really tried to trust my swing and just let it go.”
Playing from behind at this event was a new experience for Sorenstam, who had led after every round in the tournament’s first two years. She began the day four shots back of Webb and lost ground early with nine consecutive pars. She finally got a birdie on the par-4 10th, but was six strokes back at that point. She finished with a 4-under 68 to share second with Siew-Ai Lim (66) and Jeong Jang (69).