Karrie Webb came from five shots back at the start of Sunday’s final round to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic and dedicated her 39th tour victory to her ill grandmother, Merion.
“My grandma at home has been ill and in hospital this week and we actually thought that she was going to pass and so she told me that I had to win this tournament for her,” an emotional Webb told Golf Channel’s Kay Cockerill after carding a closing 3-under 68 and tallying a tourney-low 4-under. “She’s on the mend fortunately, but it’s still for her.”
For the 38-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer, the victory in the 54-hole event was her first in two years, Webb’s last one coming at the 2011 LPGA Founders Cup. It was also her first triumph in the ShopRite competition. She finished two shots clear of reigning Wegmans LPGA champion Shanshan Feng.
“It never gets old, and it never gets any easier,” said the seven-time major champ, who began her rebound from a five-stroke deficit at the start of the day by draining a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 second hole.
Her quick beginning had her believing Webb believing she could actually win the long-time tour event for the first time.
“When I spoke to [my grandma], I think it was Wednesday night or Thursday morning, she told me that I needed to win this one for her,” said Webb. “I was like, ‘this isn’t the one that you tell me that I have to win for you because I was like I’ve never really even had a shot to win here.’
“So when I got off to that start, I was like, ‘oh, my God,’” said Webb. “Well, when she started to make a turn for the better, my dad said, ‘look, she’s going to make it, so the pressure is off, you know.’ He felt for me after she told me I had to win it for her. But you know, I was in contention and in the lead today. I was like, ‘wow, I might actually be able to do this for her.’”
Webb eagled the par-5 third and grabbed her first advantage after Feng, playing two groups in front of her in the lead group, bogeyed the 13th. She extended her edge with a birdie on No. 18, requiring Feng to eagle the par-5 18th to force a playoff. Feng opted not to go for the green.
Webb, winning in conditions worthy of a British Open, with winds gusting to 35 m.p.h., hit 12 of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens, and needed just 28 putts in her final round, according to Golf Channel.
Another feel-good story of the tourney was Michelle Wie’s T9 finish, her best close by far in an otherwise miserable 2013 season that has included five missed cuts.
Feng hopes to defend her Wegmans title next week against a stalwart field that will include Webb and Wie.