Sunday, June 10, 2007

LPGA Championship – Final Round

Suzann Pettersen held off Karrie Webb to win the LPGA Championship by one stroke. Pettersen finished at -14 with a round of 67 to win her second tournament of 2007 and the first major championship of her career. Webb also carded a 67 to finish at -13. Na On Min (-12) finished third, Lindsay Wright (-10) was fourth after firing a 66 and Angela Park (-9) was fifth.

None of the players in the last three groups was able to get on an early run. Pettersen was the steadiest with a couple of birdies on the front side but dropped back to -10 at the 9th after missing the green to the right. Min bogeyed three straight (6 thru 8) to fall to -8 and Webb was up-and-down and -9 at the turn. By this time, Lindsay Wright had moved into the picture – after a birdie at 13, she was -9 (-5 on the day). At 10, Pettersen landed her approach three feet away and that birdie put her at -11 and up two. At the 11th, Webb started an incredible putting run when she rammed home a 40-foot bomb to get to -10. Wright almost immediately matched that excitement when her third at the par-5 15th stopped two inches away and she was now -10 also. At 12, Webb saved par with a 5-footer and then just missed chipping in at 13. Pettersen regained her two-shot lead when she rolled in an 8-footer at 13, but Webb answered with an 8-footer of her own at 14 to take that one right back. At this point it looked like Suzann, Karrie and maybe Lindsay were going to settle things.

That’s when Min ran off four consecutive birdies – 13 thru 16 – to get to -12. While the 18-year-old was making her charge, Webb was scrambling for (and saving) pars after poor tee shots at 15 and 16 and Pettersen was only able to cash in at 15 when she reached the green in two and made birdie from four feet. Now Pettersen was -13, Min was -12 and Webb was -11. Karrie went straight at the pin on 17 and rolled home from six feet to tie Min at -12. Both players in the last pair played fine tee shots at 17 also. Suzann drained her 12-foot birdie and took a two-shot lead to the final hole when Na On missed her 8-footer badly to the left, snapping her birdie streak.

Ahead at 18, Karrie landed her approach perfectly but it caught the slope wrong and stopped suddenly about 10 feet under the hole. With TGC’s AimPoint graphic showing the way, Webb curled her putt just outside the “preferred line” and dropped it in the side to finish at -13. Playing from great positions in the fairway, both Pettersen and Min landed safely on the right-hand side of the green about 30 feet away. Suzann was away and when she cozied her putt to about an inch away, the championship was hers.

Overall the scoring was outstanding so despite several players making excellent Sunday runs, the winner wound up coming out of the final group. Wright’s 66 equaled the day’s best while Paula Creamer, Lorena Ochoa, Sophie Gustafson, Brittany Lincicome, Catriona Matthew and Sarah Lee all broke 70 to lock up a Top 10. Morgan Pressel’s 14th place finish was the best of anyone who didn’t break par today (73 for Morgan). Despite the awesome showing by Na On Min, I’m going to give the Big Surprise award to Lindsay Wright. This was Lindsay’s first Top 10 (only second Top 20) of 2007 and as I mentioned after round three, Na On already had one Top 10 this year. The Big Disappointment goes to Ai Miyazato, who missed the cut. I really thought Ai was primed to have a good week.

I have a few more things to talk about, but will save them for the Epilogue.

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