Australian seven-time Major winner Karrie Webb stormed to glory yesterday at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore to end world No. 1 Yani Tseng’s brilliant run.
Veteran Webb, 36, overcame an overnight one-shot deficit to claim victory by a stroke over Chie Arimura of Japan, who had led after the first three rounds.
Tseng, who was bidding to win for the fourth time in four weeks, was in scintillating form on the front nine with five birdies, but she only finished third after never really recovering from a slow start.
Webb fired a three-under 69 for a 13-under total of 275 at a blustery Tanah Merah Country Club. It was her 37th tournament victory on the LPGA Tour, but her first since March 2009.
“I really had to stay patient today. I didn’t swing it very consistently, when I did swing it well, I took advantage and made some birdies,” Webb said. “I really had to buckle down and try to get up and down on the holes that I missed greens.”
The decorated Australian champion needed only to make par on the final hole after Arimura missed a difficult birdie putt from inside the edge of the putting green.
“I didn’t feel like I was going to win until that last six-inch putt went in,” Webb said. “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, but then bogeyed the 10th. The job I did mentally is probably the best job I’ve done for a long time. I don’t think this course has ever played that tough. I don’t think we have ever seen the wind blow that hard for four straight days.”
Tseng, who was attempting to keep her winning streak this year intact, carded a five-under 67 for a 10-under total of 278.
“I played great on the front nine, I just couldn’t get it on the back nine, but I tried my best today and it was just great fun,” said the 22-year-old Taiwanese star, who had been in unstoppable form in the lead-up to Singapore.
Taiwan’s Candie Kung finished with a 71 to tie for 16th place on one-over 289, while compatriot Amy Hung carded a 72 to finish tied for 30th place on 292.
Arimura, who finished at 12-under 276 for the tournament after posting a 71, could only rue her short game, which denied her a great chance at winning for the first time on the LPGA Tour.
“My putting was a bit short and it’s no good,” said the despondent 23-year-old, who has won six titles in her native Japan.
Defending champion Ai Miyazato, also of Japan, finished tied at 14th after carding a two-over for a total of 288.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER