Wegmans Rochester International
Wegmans Rochester International
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Webb wins fifth tourney of year

Nothing now, it seems, can spoil Karrie Webb's year.

In a thrilling finish, Webb birdied the last three holes today and edged hard-charging Cindy McCurdy by one stroke to win the LPGA Rochester International. Victory came by way of a tricky 6-foot putt on No. 18.

"It's just a great feeling to know that you have to do something like that and then pull it off," said the 24-year-old Australian, who shot a 2-under 70 for an 8-under 280 total.

It was Webb's fifth LPGA victory in 13 outings this year and her most wins in one season.

"It's pretty amazing -- it's the stuff I dreamt about as a kid," said Webb, who has won 14 trophies since 1996. "I've had such a good year so far, I don't think there's much now that can ruin it."

McCurdy, 38, whose only tour win came in 1993, closed with a 68. Another stroke back after a 69 was Kristi Albers, who also picked up her only career victory six years ago.

South Korea's Se Ri Pak shot a 68 and finished at 4-under to join Hall of Famer Beth Daniel, who also had a 68, in a tie for fourth. Defending champion Rosie Jones had a 73 and Gail Graham a 72 and were at 3 under. Second-round leader Jean Zedlitz closed with a 76 and finished at 2 over.

McCurdy opened with three birdies, then jockeyed Webb for the lead throughout the afternoon on the sun-baked Locust Hill course.

Webb, who began the final round with a two-stroke lead, played the front nine in even par, allowing McCurdy to catch her at the turn. Webb then bogeyed No. 10 after McCurdy had birdied it, but the momentum swung back when Webb birdied No. 12 and McCurdy bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14.

McCurdy jumped ahead again with consecutive birdies, making a 25-foot putt on No. 15 and leaving her approach shot 3 feet away on No. 16. Webb misjudged a long putt and bogeyed No. 15 to fall two behind, but drew level again with short birdie putts at the next two holes.

She left her final approach shot 6 feet from the hole, made a left-to-right curler and threw her arms up in triumph.

First prize in the $1 million tournament was worth $150,000.

McCurdy, 36, a native of Forest Park, Ga., joined the tour in 1988 and won the Sun-Times Challenge in Naperville, Ill., in 1993 when she was still known as Cindy Schreyer.

"Karrie's proving herself," McCurdy said. "She tees it up, you know she's going to be up there. ... I'll be back next year."

Known for consistency, the last two years were McCurdy's most lucrative on tour with nine top-10 finishes. She had two other top-10 finishes this year, tying for third at the Corning Classic two weeks ago.

Webb has finished in the top eight in all of her outings this year and leads the earnings list with $941,198. As an LPGA rookie in 1996, she became the first player to earn more than $1 million in a season.

Mickey Wright holds the record for most wins in a season -- 13 in 1963.


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