Close, but no cigar for Karrie

Australia’s Karrie Webb turned back the clock at the second major of the year, the Wegmans LPGA Championship at the Locust Hill, although could not match the brilliant play of China’s Shanshan Feng who became the first Chinese player of either sex to win a major championship.

The 22-year-old from Guangzhou shot a five under par final round 67 for a six under par total, two shots clear of Japan’s Mika Miyazato, Stacey Lewis from the US, Suzann Pettersen from Sweden and third round leader, Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji.

Karrie Webb Karrie Webb (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Feng pocketed $375,000 for her first LPGA title, the 7th player in history to become a first time winner at the LPGA Championship and the 19th Asian win of majors – the 5th in succession.

Webb had birdied the 16th and 17th holes to give herself an unlikely chance to match Feng’s clubhouse lead, needing to hole her second shot on the final hole, but unfortunately bogeyed the hole for even par round of 72 to fall back into a tie for 6th at 3 under par.

However, once the disappointment of the final day subsides, Webb will undoubtedly look forward to the future with great confidence that the swing changes and hard work under coach Ian Triggs is paying off.

Prior to the final round, Webb found the old competitive juices flowing after shooting a four under par 68.

“I still get really excited for the majors and the importance they have on everyone’s career,” she said. “I probably want it more than I ever have in my career. I want to have a chance to win; it feels great to have a chance tomorrow.”

Webb had been planning and preparing for this chance for a long time. At the conclusion of 2011, Webb made the choice to listen to what her body was telling her and made some tough decisions to cut back her schedule for the start of 2012, after arriving at the first Major of 2011 exhausted from a hectic but successful (two early victories) start to the 2011.

Missing the RACV Ladies Masters for the first time since she was a teenager was a difficult decision, as she has won the event a record 7 times and loves the tournament and long-time promoter Bob Tuohy, but Locust Hill proved she had made the right call.

Webb said earlier this year while working with Triggs in the pre-season that she felt her best stuff was still good enough to win in any given week, but that she was looking to bring that sort of form to the table more often than she has in recent years.

“I’d love to think that I’ve got another good run of a few years yet, where I’m one of the top handful of players in the world consistently,” she said at the time.

While she didn’t quite pull off her 8th Major championship at Locust Hill, she demonstrated to her peers and most importantly, to herself, that she still has what it takes to win Majors.

With Major Championship scheduling on the Women’s Tour far more sensible this year, Webb will enjoy the chance to properly rest and prepare for the US Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run in July and the Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool in September.

Webb has won these two tournaments a combined total of five times in her career and will now be champing at the bit to add to that tally and join Betsy Rawls in 6th place on the list of most Majors won in history.