Date: August 01, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Webb gallant at British Open

Karrie Webb found a good  competitive formula without ever really challenging for the Ricoh Women’s British Open overnight.

As Ariya Jutanugarn survived a late scare to win Thailand’s first major championship, Webb turned in her best result of the northern summer with a fighting tie for fifth at Woburn Golf Club in England.

Webb couldn’t find a birdie until the 12th, then made another immediately afterwards before making a lone bogey on the short 17th to finish with a commercial 71 – her fourth successive sub-par round – and an nine-under total alongside Catriona Mathew and Ha Na Jang.

The tournament, though, was always on the stick of Jutanugarn who, for most of the weekend, was the dominant player on the Marquess Course.

But after she’d bogeyed the last three holes to hand the year’s first major to Lydia Ko at the ANA Inspiration, there were more than a few jitters when she doubled the 13th and fell within one of Mirim Lee.

But true to her word that she’d learnt her lesson, the 20-year-old steadied for her fourth LPGA Tour title of the season and played the closing five holes in one under par to topple Lee by three at 16 under, with 2014 champ Mo Martin a shot further back in third.

A first prize of £310,838 edges her closer to Ko at the top of the LPGA’s Race to CME Globe money list, while her maiden major victory is projected to move her to third place on the Rolex Ranking behind only Ko and Canada’s Brooke Henderson.

“This win means a lot to me,” an emotional Jutanugarn said.

“The last five holes were very hard after the six at the 13th but I also knew I could do it.

“I learned a lot from what happened to me at the ANA Inspiration and I think that helped today. After that hole I was a bit nervous but I tried to commit to every shot and not to worry about anything else.

“It’s a big day for me and also for golf in Thailand,” she added. “It has always been my goal to win a major and I hope I can inspire some other Thai players to do the same.”

It was also a handy pay day for Queenslander Sarah Jane Smith, who fought off some bad early nerves to shoot a 73 and finish -5 and in a tie for 17th.

Smith, who’d been a model of consistency on Saturday, came out cold on Sunday and made five of her six bogeys on the front nine, threatening to derail her fine week.

But true to her fighting spirit, she made five birdies from the sixth hole, coming home in 33, to ensure a handy cheque of almost 25,000 pounds.

Minjee Lee completed her week with a 71 to finish T25 a shot further back, while tied for 70th after a 74 left her six over par in total.