McDonalds LPGA Championship
McDonalds LPGA Championship
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Inkster completes career Grand Slam

Fifteen years after winning two legs of the career Grand Slam, Juli Inkster has won the other two in a span of three weeks.

Inkster became just the second player of the LPGA's modern era to complete the career Grand Slam, using a breathtaking run down the stretch to break out of a tie for the lead and win the LPGA Championship.

To start this season, Inkster was one of 18 players to win at least two of the four contemporary major championships in women's golf. Now she and Pat Bradley are the only players to win all four, finishing with a 72-hole total of 16-under-par 268 today to end up four strokes better than Sweden's Liselotte Neumann.

Inkster won the Dinah Shore and du Maurier Classic in 1984, earning two major titles in her first full season on the LPGA Tour. She won the 1989 Dinah Shore but never reached the winner's circle here or at the U.S. Women's Open until this month.

She coasted to a five-shot triumph at the Old Waverly Golf Club in Missississippi three weeks ago to win the Open, recording her third title of the year. Notching her fourth win of 1999 proved to be a greater challenge.

Three days after turning 39, Inkster entered today's play tied for the lead with Nancy Scranton and Cristie Kerr before draining long birdie putts at Nos. 8 and 9 to grab sole possession of the top spot. She then needed some impressive par-saving putts, including a 15-footer at No. 14, to stay at 12-under.

But Inkster was soon joined atop the leaderboard as Scranton chipped in for birdie at the 14th and Liselotte Neumann hit a short birdie putt at No. 16.

Moments later, Inkster showed why she is on the verge of becoming a Hall of Famer. With 236 yards left to the par-5 16th, she ripped her second shot 20 feet right of the pin and buried that eagle putt to take the outright lead. Her momentum continued at the par-3 17th, where she landed her tee shot four feet past the flag.

That birdie putt gave her a three-stroke cushion, then Inkster connected on a 30-footer to birdie the 18th, capping a final-round score of 6-under 65 with a triumphant hip-shaking dance on the green.

The $210,000 first prize pushed the mother of two past Karrie Webb to the top of the money list with nearly $953,000. Collecting her 21st career victory, Inkster moved within one point, or one more win, of gaining automatic entry to the LPGA Hall of Fame.

The 38-year-old Scranton, who joined the LPGA Tour only two years after Inkster in 1985, shot 70 today and tied for third with Mardi Lunn to post her best finish since winning the 1992 Los Coyotes LPGA Classic. Scranton's only other victory was a major -- the 1991 du Maurier.

Kerr, 21, was in good position to earn her first LPGA Tour title but struggled to a final-round 71. She ended up with a 72-hole total of 10-under 274 to tie Rosie Jones for fifth place.

Defending champion Se Ri Pak, whose run at 1998 Rookie of the Year honors began with a win here, was one stroke back to start the round but could only manage an even-par 71 today. She finished seven shots back at 9-under 275, one week after earning her first title of the year at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The DuPont Country Club is a par-71, 6,376-yard layout.

 

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