GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) – Karrie Webb won her first LPGA Tour title in two years, rallying from five shots down for a two-stroke victory over Shanshan Feng on Sunday in the wind-whipped ShopRite LPGA Classic.
The 38-year-old Hall of Famer shot a magnificent 3-under 68 in blustery conditions to win for the 39th time on tour, the most among active players. The Australian had a 4-under 209 total on The Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, tying the highest winning score at the course.
Playing in wind gusting to 25 to 30 mph, Webb had two birdies, an eagle and a bogey, capping the round with a 5-foot birdie at the par-5 final hole. She also made six par-saving putts of 5-6 feet.
“It never gets old. It never gets any easier, either,” Webb said. “Today was extremely tough, and I’m just glad that I pulled it out. I think coming down I knew I needed to make one birdie, I thought, because I didn’t think I could just par in and feel comfortable, so great birdie on the last.”
Webb, the Australian Ladies Masters winner in February, got emotional after the event, saying that her grandmother has been very ill back home and told her to win. She did.
Feng, who led by three shots entering the final round, struggled in the wind and finished with a 75.
“The conditions was really, really tough today,” said Feng, who played with a new set of clubs this week.
Hee Young Park was the only other player under par, finishing at 1 under after a 71.
The final round played out somewhat like a U.S. Open with the elements, the dried-out fast greens and the fescue-lined fairways working like a demolition derby on the 74 players who qualified for the final round.
Webb, who got back into contention with a 69 in the second round, made her move early, rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt on the difficult 420-yard second hole that might have been the toughest on the course with the wind blowing into the players’ faces off Reed’s Bay. She moved into a share of the lead on the par-5 fifth, rolling in a 6-foot eagle.
Feng, who became the first Chinese player to win an LPGA Tour event and a major when she captured the LPGA Championship last year, gave the lead back. A bad chip and a three-putt led to a double bogey at the second hole. After a birdie at No. 3, the world’s No. 8 ranked played put her tee shot into the fifth hole and made another double bogey after taking a drop.
Feng regained the lead with a short birdie at the eighth hole but bogeys at the 11th and 13th holes after bad approach shots gave Webb the lead.
Webb’s birdie at the 18th hole pushed the margin to two shots. Feng closed within a shot with a short birdie putt at No. 16 but she hit her tee shot in the bunker at the next hole and bogeyed. She needed an eagle at the par-5 final hole but had to settle for par.
Jenny Shin of South Korea, who had four straight birdies on the back nine, finished fourth at even par after a 70.
Rookie Chie Arimura, who was tied for the lead on the front nine, finished in a group at 1 over.
Despite a final round 74, Michelle Wie had her best finish of the year, finishing in a group at 2 over. Her 9th place finish marks as the first time in 19 starts that she has finished in the Top 10.
“Overall I fought hard, and I’m pretty proud of the way I played this week and I think it’s a good week leading up to a major, so I’m just excited to get over there and play well,” said Wie, who is still looking for her first LPGA Tour win in the United States..
Feng will defend her LPGA Championship in Pittsford, N.Y. next week.