A rivalry renewed: Karrie Webb defeats Annika Sorenstam by four at Senior LPGA Championship

·4 min read

The Senior LPGA Championship unfolded exactly how golf fans had hoped – with a showdown between Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam, two of the greatest players to ever compete on the LPGA.

Sorenstam chipped in for eagle on the first hole at Salina Country Club in Kansas, and Webb called it “game on.”

Tied for the lead at 12 under as they made the turn, a late eagle from Webb on the back nine pulled the Aussie ahead, and she ultimately won by four. Sorenstam parred all three pars 5s on the back nine and shot 38.

Webb, 47, carded a 5-under 67 on a scorcher of a Sunday to finish at 14 under in her senior major debut and earn $60,000. Sorenstam, 51, shot 69 to finish at 10 under.

American Laura Diaz finished alone in third, seven back.

“It’s been a while since I won a golf tournament,” said Webb, “so it feels really good.”

Karrie Webb competes at the Senior LPGA Championship. (LPGA photo)

Last week’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational marked the first time that Sorenstam and Webb were in the same tournament field since 2008. Both were asked about the rivalry they shared at the peak of their games.

Sorenstam and Webb combined for 113 LPGA titles, including 17 majors. Together the LPGA icons have won a total of 150 titles worldwide. Sorenstam retired from the LPGA in 2008 and Webb began playing a limited schedule in 2018. Both made their debut in the Senior LPGA this week.

“I think Annika and I tried to downplay the rivalry a little bit, even though I think it truly existed,” said Webb. “We probably should have played on it a little bit more.”

Sorenstam said Webb pushed her to take every facet of her game to another level, calling it a “friendly rivalry.” She recalled an LPGA commercial that had Webb hitting golf balls with Sorenstam’s face on them.

“Then she had a voodoo doll where she put a needle in me,” said Sorenstam, “and I think I put a little sticker on her back … I still think of that today. It was a good one. I thought it was good for the game and certainly good for us.”

Annika Sorenstam finished runner-up in her Senior LPGA debut. (LPGA photo)

Webb noted that for all the tournaments they won, there weren’t many Sunday rounds in which they were paired together. There might have been some back and forth on the leaderboard, but they weren’t often side by side.

“If it’s more than five times I’d be surprised,” said Webb, who noted that they did play plenty of rounds together on Thursday and Friday.

Webb said looking back, playing up the rivalry even more would’ve been good for the LPGA, but she struggled to do that.

“I think in a rivalry there’s a good guy and a bad guy,” she said, “and I was having my own struggles with the media at the time, so I knew who the bad guy would probably be made out to be, so I think that’s why I played it down.”

Webb last won on the LPGA in 2014 and said she wasn’t quite sure about her yardages down the stretch because she hadn’t played with adrenaline in quite some time. The short putts late in the afternoon seemed longer and her mouth went dry as she worked to close the door on Sorenstam.

“I just knew I had to play my best golf,” said Webb. “When we’ve battled in the past, that’s always what I had to do was play as good as I could.”

Sorenstam won last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Brooklawn Country Club in her championship debut. She’ll be back at the event next month at NCR Country Club in Dayton, Ohio, to defend her title. (Webb isn’t eligible for the event because she’s not yet 50.)

“I wish I would’ve continued the pressure that I started,” said Sorenstam of her hot start, “would’ve been fun. But I think I ran out of gas a little bit.”