Webb Rallies For Third British Open Title, Sixth M
by Robert Millward
TURNBERRY, Scotland AP) - Karrie Webb added another series of records and milestones to her stunning collection by capturing her third Women's British Open on Sunday in a come-from-behind triumph that almost seemed inevitable.
Collecting her sixth major in four years, the 27-year-old Australian made up three strokes on the third round leaders to post a 66 and finish two ahead of the field with a 15 under total of 273.
Runners up Paula Marti of Spain and Michelle Ellis of Australia and the other four players behind her seemed powerless to stop her on the rainsoaked Turnberry links.
As well as being the first player to win the title three times, her triumph meant she became the first to win the LPGA's Super Slam of five majors.
Because she had also won the du Maurier, the the Nabisco Championship, the U.S. Open and the LPGA Championship, she had already completed the old Grand Slam. By adding this year's British Open, she completed the Super Slam of five.
Her victory at Turnberry also means that the same four players - Webb, Se Ri Pak, Juli Inkster and Annika Sorenstam - have won 16 out of the last 19 majors. Webb has six, Pak four, Inkster four and Sorenstam, who failed to make the cut here after a tour leading 74 tournaments, has two.
This year's majors have all been won by different players, Sorenstam taking the Nabisco Championship, Pak the LPGA Championship, Inkster the U.S. Open and Webb the British Open.
Webb also became the first player since Mickey Wright in 1964 to win a major four years in a row. Wright achieved that feat twice in a row between 1957-64.
"I didn't know that," she said. "That feels great too.
"It's one of the best rounds that I can remember," said Webb, who also won the title in 1995 - her rookie year- and '97. "The first major I won, the (1999) du Maurier Classic, I shot 66 in the final round as well, and I birdied four out of the last five holes so it wasn't as solid a round as it was today.
"Just right from the word go I was hitting good iron shots and making a lot of putts."
Webb, who collected 155,000 pounds (dlrs 236,383), missed out on the previous four majors, failing to make the cut at the last one, the U.S. Open at Prairie Dunes last month. She had no real explanation for her return to form.
"You work hard and you keep at it and hopefully the things that you've been working hard at work out," she said. But she admitted to being fired up by the Turnberry links course which is on the rotation for the men's Open.
"I've really enjoyed playing Turnberry," she said. "There have been a lot of great champions here at the (men's) British Open. To win here on such a great golf course is a dream come true."
The 27-year-old Australian brushed aside a talented but young group of rivals to romp to her sixth major and 33rd career title.
From the moment she had birdied three of the first holes to draw level with third round leaders Carin Koch of Sweden and Jenny Rosales of the Philippines, it always looked like it would be Webb's title.
Making few mistakes off the tee, she moved ahead with a 20-foot birdie putt at the 10th and was two ahead after a 15-footer at 12.
Although Ellis and Marti briefly got within a stroke of her, they each dropped shots after missing the greens and Webb's relentless charge became complete with another 12-foot birdie putt at the 17th.
By that time she was three ahead of the field and, although Marti and Ellis both birdied 17, Webb was already in the clubhouse anticipating yet another career victory.
Ellis carded a 68 and Marti a 69 as they wound up 13-under on 275. Rosales finished tied for fourth on 11 under after a 1-over 73 and Koch wound up tied for eighth on 10 under after a 74. The leading Americans on 10 under were Meg Mallon (70) and Beth Bauer (71).