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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
News
Cumberbatch spectacularly photobombs U2 at the Oscars
news
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

News
Will menus with calorie counts really deter junk-food addicts from eating junk?
i100
Sport
Today's Liverpool Echo back page
football
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

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

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?