Emotional Karrie Webb Wins Inaugural LPGA Founders Cup

LPGA Hall of Famer Karrie Webb picked up her 38th and perhaps most meaningful victory Sunday when she outlasted Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome to win the first-ever LPGA Founders Cup.

Following her one-stroke win over the two Americans, and with three of the tour’s founders sitting behind her on a platform, Webb attempted to keep her emotions in check as she thanked the foremothers of the tour.

“I’m really honored I can win the inaugural Founders Cup,” Webb told Golf Channel, clearly struggling with her words. “I think it’s a great concept. We need to honor these women more than we do….The reason why we’re playing today is because of them. It means a lot to me that I’m standing here as champion.”

A three-foot par putt sealed the second straight victory for Webb, who began the day six shots back of leader Angela Stanford. Her 6-under 66 for the day and 12-under 204 finish for the 54-hole event was good enough to hold off Lincicome and and a hard-charging Creamer. Stanford had a rough day, carding three three-putt bogeys and closing-round 75. She finished at 9-under and in fifth place.

Webb pocketed nothing for her win but earned $200,000 for charity. She split her first-place prize money between the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Japan relief efforts. Webb’s designated charity was in honor of her long-time coach, Kelvin Hall, who has been a quadriplegic for 20 years. She said of her donation to assistance in Japan that it was “the least I could do” for the career-long support she’s received from Japanese fans and businesses.

Under the format of the $1 million tournament that had a rocky start but a thrilling finish, sponsor RR Donnelley donated $500,000 to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program and the other half to the top 10 finishers’ charities of choice. The women played for free, with the entire prize package going to charity, but but they earned credit toward the official money list, world ranking points, and Player of the Year honors.

A supporter from the start of commissioner Mike Whan’s visionary tourney, Webb was a fitting and appreciative winner. “I think we need to celebrate these ladies more than we do,” Webb reiterated later in a press conference. “I wouldn’t have had the career that I’ve had and the life that I’ve had if it weren’t for those 13 women.”

As for the event itself, which in its early iterations earned criticism from leading players like Creamer, Cristie Kerr, and MorganPressel, Webb had nothing but praise for the organizers. “I think they did a fantastic job to get this tournament run as well as it was,” she said. “You wouldn’t know that they only had a few months to put it together. “

Webb believed the event was the perfect beginning of the three-week stretch of U.S. events that will culminate with the first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship

“I think it’s a great kick start to our domestic season having this event,” she said. “I think the LPGA… we’ve had our tough times, and we have throughout the history of the LPGA. You know, I think we’re going to build from this event, and things can only improve.”

Lincicome, also an early backer of the event, could not get up and down from the front of the 18th to force a playoff with Webb.

“Chipping is something that I’ve struggled with my whole entire life,” Lincicome told reporters. “I wouldn’t say awful, but it’s definitely not good. So it doesn’t surprise me that chip didn’t work out too well. But I hit a great putt. I thought that putt was going to go in. Just a little bit more speed and it would have held its line.”

Creamer, who started the day tied for eighth, put on a show down the stretch. She finished with a final-round 66.

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