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.

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor