City of Hope Myrtle Beach Classic
City of Hope Myrtle Beach Classic
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Hetherington wins shortened event

Rachel Hetherington sees herself as Karrie Webb's teammate and friend than her rival. The golf world may not agree.

Today, Hetherington shot a 4-under-par 68 and faced down Webb to win her second straight LPGA tournament, ending her fellow Australian's two-year reign as City of Hope Myrtle Beach Classic champion.

"We're great friends and she's a great golfer," said Hetherington, who won $101,250 for her third career victory, a rain-shortened 36-hole event. "I'm just trying to play the best I can. There's no rivalry."

But it was Hetherington's resolve, nerves and putting that kept her ahead of Webb -- they were paired together -- who was a stroke behind the final three holes but could not catch up.

With Webb facing 15-foot birdie tries on 17 and 18, and Hetherington at least 35 feet away both times, it was the "other Australian" who saved par and won the tournament.

But rivals, not a chance, says Hetherington.

"I think it's great that we give the young kids growing up at home people to look up to," said Hetherington, who won the Chik-fil-A Charity Championship last week.

Webb, the tour's leading money winner, agreed. "It was a pretty light-hearted round," she said.

Looks like Aussie golf hopefuls have someone else to cheer besides Webb.

"These two weeks have been good fun, I wish I could play like this all the time," Hetherington said.

It wasn't easy.

Hetherington finished with a 7-under 137 total at Wachesaw East Golf Club. Then she waited more than an hour as the rest of the field tried to catch her.

"It wasn't a good wait. I thought I'd be in a playoff or one of the girls would get to 8 under," Hetherington said.

No one could, not even Webb, who missed a 10-foot birdie on No. 18.

Leta Lindley, who led with six holes to go, rimmed out a par putt on 18 that would have forced a playoff.

Helen Alfredsson, at 6 under, drove into the soggy rough on the final hole and settled for par.

Donna Andrews got within one stroke after making birdies on Nos. 12-14, but got no closer.

It was a welcome end to four dreary, rain-filled days. Players struggled through 40-degree temperatures and misting rain Thursday. Then hit the movies and malls as organizers canceled rounds Friday and Saturday, the first time the LPGA has halved a 72-hole tournament since 1981.

Almost no one wanted to see a playoff. Even before Andrews was mathematically eliminated, organizers made out Hetherington's oversized winner's check.

Hetherington made her tour mark last year by defeating Annika Sorestam in a playoff at the Betsy King Classic. She topped Lori Kane in a playoff last week at Stockbridge, Ga.

Another playoff seemed likely as the tournament turned into a weekend scramble. Course superintendent Dean Crouch estimated eight inches of rain fell this week and 55 golfers were within two shots of first-round leaders Juli Inkster and Amy Benz when skies cleared.

The fairways and greens were in solid shape, but there were mucky areas everywhere. Players were allowed to clean and replace their balls.

Still Webb said it was hard to get started after not playing since Thursday.

"You feel like you have to go for broke, and I left a few putts out there," she said.

Hetherington, a shot back as play began Sunday, also had trouble starting, opening with a bogey. However, she grabbed the lead with four straight birdies.

Consecutive bogeys on 11 and 12 put her two shots behind Lindley down the stretch. But she fought back with birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 and two testing par saves after leaving herself with birdie putts of 30 feet or more on 17 and 18.

Lindley looked like a lock to join her at 7 under, but her 5-foot par try rolled off the left edge.

"I put a good stroke on it and stayed solid, but it caught a lot of hole," said Lindley, who finished tied with Webb and Alfredsson, one shot back.

Inkster, the only player besides Webb and Hetherington with more than one victory this year, had an uneven round -- five birdies, four bogeys -- and was part of a group two shots back.

Divots: Kris Monaghan was disqualified when she failed to show for her 8:20 a.m. tee time. Monaghan had shot a 5-over 77 in the first round Thursday and didn't want to spend more time at soggy Wachesaw East. ... Andrews' double-bogey on 18 cost her about $10,000. ... Inkster hit the ball over the par-3 4th hole where a resident using the course's cart path/fitness trail picked it up intending to throw it back on the green. Spectators told her to drop it where it was. ... Marshal signs normally tell fans to be "Quiet." But in a touch of Southern style, the ones along the Grand Strand at Wachesaw East said, "Hush y'all."


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