Pak wins final event in a playoff

The LPGA ended the 1990s in style - a great year that gave Karrie Webb a record scoring average and record earnings, and a great shot that gave Se Ri Pak a playoff victory in the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship.

The LPGA ended the 1990s in style - a great year that gave Karrie Webb a record scoring average and record earnings, and a great shot that gave Se Ri Pak a playoff victory in the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship.

Pak shaped her approach into the 18th green around a tree to 3 feet (1 meter) for birdie on the first extra hole to beat Webb and Laura Davies in a dramatic conclusion on Sunday to one of the best LPGA seasons this decade.

"I had tree, little bit hanging, bothers me," the 22-year-old South Korean said in broken English. Using a three-quarter 8-iron, she hit a "perfect" low shot. "Just what I want to do."

The victory, worth $215,000, was the fourth of the year for Pak and the eighth in just two seasons on the LPGA Tour. No one has won so much so quickly since Nancy Lopez won 17 times in her first two seasons 20 years ago.

The consolation prize for Webb was the points-based Player of the Year award, a record $1.59 million and the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average. At 69.43, it broke the mark of 69.99 set last year by Annika Sorenstam.

"It's going to be interesting to see how long this one lasts," Webb said. "This could be the lowest it ever gets, but I could break it myself."

Juli Inkster had to win for any hope of capturing Player of the Year. She had to settle for winning the US Open, completing the career Grand Slam by winning the LPGA Championship and getting into the Hall of Fame. Not a bad season.

The only one who left the Desert Inn Golf Club with a bitter taste was Davies. Her chip from 25 feet (8 meters) on the playoff hole stopped one revolution from falling in. As a result, her career playoff record fell to 1-8.

"I don't want to finish second any more," Davies said. "I'm fed up with that."The week was not a total loss. Davies did watch fellow Englishman Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield, and she did well in the casinos.

Webb was trying to become the first player since Beth Daniel in 1990 to win seven times in a season. She birdied two of the last four holes to get into the playoff but missed her 20-footer (6-meter) in the playoff.

Along with her six victories, Webb was also had six runner-up finishes and was in the top 10 in 22 of her 25 tournaments.

"It's definitely been a year to remember," Webb said. "You don't know how many of these years are going to come by."

Pak is now 2-0 in playoffs. The other victory came in a 20-hole playoff for the US Open last year, the centerpiece of a sensational year in which she won two majors and set two scoring records.

Shackled by the pressure from sudden stardom, Pak spent the first half of the year finding her freedom and adjusting to an American lifestyle. She surfaced happier than ever, and proved this week that her game is as strong as ever.

"First year, good season," Pak said. "This year, one or two (wins) is good enough. Four times ... I can't believe it. It's pretty good. Every year, four times would be pretty good."

The finish to the year also revealed what could be the start of a great rivalry for years to come between Pak and Webb, who have emerged as the most talented players of their generation.

Pak, tied for the lead with Lorie Kane, finished with a 70. Webb and Davies each had a 68 to finish at 12-under 276.

Akiko Fukushima birdied the last two holes for a 69 that left her alone in fourth, three strokes out of the playoff. Lorie Kane had a 74 and was at 280.The one piece of drama that never unfolded was the battle between Webb and Inkster, the two dominant players on tour this year with 11 tournaments and three majors between them. Inkster needed a victory to have any chance of capturing the points-based player of the year award, and she gave it her best shot.

She stayed within range of Webb with a 4-foot (1.3-meter) birdie on the seventh - after Webb had hit into 3 feet (1 meter) for birdie - and the two traded great shots on the next two holes before Inkster finally fell off the pace.Still, it was an incredible season for the 39-year-old mother of two - the US Open, the career Grand Slam by winning the LPGA Championship, and entry into the Hall of Fame with her fifth victory of the season.

News
US comedian Bill Mahr
people
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Sport
football
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Life and Style
Models – and musicians – on the catwalk in Dior Homme for the men’s 2015/16 fashion show in Paris
fashionAt this season's Paris shows, various labels played with the city boys' favourite
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us