HSBC Women's Champions -- Final-round notes and interviews

HSBC Women's Champions
Tanah Merah Country Club, Garden Course
Singapore, Singapore Feb. 27, 2011
Final-round notes and interviews
 
Karrie Webb, -13, Rolex Rankings No. 13
Chie Arimura, -12, Rolex Rankings No. 19
Yani Tseng, -10, Rolex Rankings No. 1

LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb made a back-nine charge on Sunday to win the fourth-annual HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore. Her final-round 3-under-par 69 included six birdies in an eight hole span to edge LPGA of Japan (JLPGA) star Chie Arimura by one shot. Arimura, the overnight leader after the first three rounds, shot 1-under-par 71 on Sunday. Webb's four-day tally of 13-under-par 275 is the second best in tournament history behind Lorena Ochoa's inaugural 20-under-par 268 in 2008. With the win, Webb banks $210,000 and becomes just the second player in LPGA Tour history to cross the $16 million mark in career earnings (Annika Sorenstam).
 
As one of the most decorated golfers in women's history and the fourth “Champion of Champions” at the HSBC, Webb's 15-year career now includes 37 LPGA Tour career victories, three LPGA official money list titles, two Rolex Player of the Year awards, three Vare Trophies and the 1995 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Webb is one of only six LPGA players to have achieved the career LPGA Grand Slam and the only player in LPGA history to complete the career Super LPGA Grand Slam. She is also the youngest player in LPGA history to achieve these feats.

Yani Tseng fell short in her bid for two-consecutive victories to open the LPGA season and five consecutive wins worldwide in 2011. She made a front-nine move, turning at 5-under-par 31 for the day to move within one shot of the lead, but faltered with bogies at holes 10 and 13. Tseng rebounded with birdies at 13 and 16, but fell three strokes shy of Karrie Webb at 10-under-par 272. With her finish, Tseng is projected to retain the No. 1 position in the Rolex Rankings when they are released on Monday, Feb. 28.

Webb is going to Canyon Ranch. With her victory at the 2011 HSBC Women's Champions, Karrie Webb earned an all-inclusive stay for two at a Canyon Ranch resort. In a combined effort to promote health and overall well-being among Tour players, Canyon Ranch will provide every winner of an LPGA event with one all-inclusive stay at one of Canyon Ranch's two destination resorts.

Of note… Defending champion Ai Miyazato tied for 14th at even-par and drained a 20-foot eagle putt on the driveable par-4 16th hole on Sunday… 2009 champion Jiyai Shin tied for 11th… This year's course average was 73.4… Only 13 of 63 players broke par for the week on a windy Garden Course... Yani Tseng, Karrie Webb, I.K. Kim and Catriona Matthew are the only four players to finish in the top-10 each of the first two weeks.

Karrie Webb, -13

MIKE SCANLAN: We would like to welcome 2011 HSBC Women's Champions winner, Karrie Webb, now a 37 time winner of the LPGA Tour, and member of the LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame. How does it feel to be champion of Champions?

KARRIE WEBB: It feels great. I have to say I'm a little I didn't know if I would be sitting here today, put it that way. I feel great to be sitting here and I'm very glad that I holed out that one shot to win.

MIKE SCANLAN: You had six birdies in eight holes but also two bogeys in that eight holes. How were you playing there?
KARRIE WEBB: It was a very up and down day. I started off a little slowly and managed my game pretty well and then obviously Yani made a great run on the front nine, but then bogeyed 10.
So was getting a little frustrated, I had gotten three shots behind. But you know, there was still a lot of golf left and I think my patience paid off, because I put a great swing on a 4 iron on the next and Chie bogeyed. And so I was back to one shot behind. So just like that, I felt really back in the tournament and rolled off another three birdies. So you know, I still knew that losing 14, it wasn't over and that I had a lot of golf left.

Q. Had you been frustrated with your putting
KARRIE WEBB: This week, no, I haven't been frustrated this week with my putting.

Q. What are you doing differently?
KARRIE WEBB: They are going in (laughter). I don't know, you don't question it when you see them going in.
I've worked really hard on my putting and it feels really great to get over them. I mean, I think as get older, those putts are not easier than they were when I was 21. But I get over them and I am pretty sure I'm going to put a good stroke on them.
So that feels good. I'll take that feeling for as long as it stays with me.

Q. What have you done here, when you look at the past champions of this event
KARRIE WEBB: It's definitely a world class event and you have the best players in the world here. And great players have won this event.
For me, personally, to win this event, to win this early in the year, I really hope it sets things up for a great run. You know, I think I handled my emotions very well this week, and you know, even through the lean ball striking period that I had, probably every day I had a couple of holes where I didn't hit it very well but I managed to stay calm, got up and down more often than not which is good and then I made my birdies when I could.

Q. (Inaudible.)
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I'm glad my name is on the trophy, as well. I'm the oldest player, I don't know but how many years, but I'll take it.

Q. (Your thoughts on Chie's performance today).
KARRIE WEBB: Chie has won in Japan. I think it was a very big day for her. You know, I think no matter how many times she's won in Japan, it was probably a different feeling for her. It probably had a lot of meaning and bearing on her career. So I think that probably put a lot of pressure on her. But I think she handled herself very well.
You know, I think she played well. It wasn't easy out there. I think any score under par today under that pressure was a good score and she was there with a chance right until the end. I don't think she should hang her head at all. I think she should be very proud of how she played.

Q. Do you think she actually played like someone that knows how to win?

KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I expected that. I think no matter what tour you win on in the world, if you've won before, you know how to do. And if you've won from behind and you've won from leading, you know how to do it.
I didn't expect to see her go away at all today. I knew she would tough it out and play well.

Q. What about Yani, you've been on those great runs.

KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, it is, it's really watching her, especially the front nine today, it's really amazing watching players with a lot of confidence. Obviously I didn't get to watch myself when I had that sort of confidence that she has, but watching players with that sort of confidence, they don't feel like they can do any wrong; that they are going to make those birdies. And Yani did.
And I think probably especially Chie leading, she wasn't playing poorly. But her lead was getting smaller and smaller as Yani made birdie after birdie. So I think that pressure alone; and there was a lot of Yani fans out there, too.
So it's hard when you're not the favourite in the crowd and you're trying to keep your emotions in check, too. I think Chie did a good job, and Yani, I mean, Yani played great. I think she made a bogey there on 10, which really stopped her momentum this afternoon.

Q. At what point did you feel you were going to win, was there a point during the round?
KARRIE WEBB: I didn't feel like I was going to win until that last six inch putt went in.
But I think the turning point came, I birdied 9 and I played 10 very poorly today. I was very frustrated. I didn't put a good swing on my drive, and that really set it up for a bad hole. Chie birdied that hole; so I went three shots behind and I knew I wasn't out of it but I knew I needed to play better golf than that to even have a chance.
Put a great swing on a 4 iron on 11 and made about a 12 footer for birdie there, and Chie bogeyed, so all of a sudden, one shot behind and you know, right back in it. That was what calmed me down. I played four it great holes after that, and walked off 14 with a two shot lead.

Q. How did you manage to stay calm?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't know, I really had to keep my emotions in check today. I think it was easy for me not to it get ahead of myself, because I knew I wasn't swinging it as good as I could.
So I really had to just think about one shot at a time. I really couldn't get ahead of myself, because, you know, I knew I had to buckle down over every shot. So it was probably a positive in a way that made me just take one step at a time.

Q. I'm trying really hard not to use the word old in my question

KARRIE WEBB: That's all right. I'll feel old tomorrow morning after I wake up after this red eye tonight.

Q. You mention players playing with confidence; in your career, do you take a lot of confidence from it?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I definitely take a lot of confidence from it. I think the biggest things I take confidence from well, there's a couple of things. I putted really the last couple well, I've putted well pretty much the whole four weeks that I've played.
And then just how I kept my emotions in check. You know, I didn't even as experienced as I am; I still struggle with controlling my emotions and not getting too down on myself and beating myself up where I can't get myself out of that hole.
So I think that's the biggest thing I'll take confidence from this week.

Q. Looking at leaderboards earlier in the round, there were only eight other players under par in the tournament; why do you think the scoring was so high?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, it's very tough. I don't think this course has ever played that tough. Mainly I think because of the wind. I don't think we have ever seen the wind blow that hard for four straight days.
And I think it really made the longer par 4s long, really long. And then with the way the greens are, if you are not in the right section, it's really tough to 2 putt or to get up and down if you miss it short side.
So you know, it's definitely a challenging golf course. I don't think we had a lot of rain on the greens, either, so they didn't get any softer as the week went on. So I think just each day became more of a challenge to give yourself decent birdie chances.

Q. (Inaudible).
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, it's definitely been a great week for me. I don't want to complain, but I could have had a better ball striking week. I've had better ball striking weeks. But like I said, I have not had a complete week where I didn't let bad shots get me down and I got up and down fairly often. I shrugged off the bogeys fairly quickly as well. The job I did mentally is probably the best job I've done for a long time.

Q. Another world class performance by Yani; were you prepared for the run she made?

KARRIE WEBB: Yes, I was ready for it. And actually, I wasn't surprised that Yani started the way she did. I think I expected that, as well.
And so I was just ready to not really get too caught up in what the other two players in my group were doing and try to remember that there was 18 holes and that this course was playing tough.
So I didn't start off great, and Chie maybe started off really well; that there was still time to catch her. So you know, I didn't really get involved with that. I was just, like I said, trying to hit one shot at a time and you know, make as many birdies as I could.

Q. How were the crowds out there?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, the crowds were great. I think they were happy to see me make a birdie. Cheered loudly when they could.

Chie Arimura, -12


Q. Tough finish today but second is great and such a big tournament. How do you feel it went today?

CHIE ARIMURA: Really pretty good round today, so I'm very happy. So I lost by a stroke.

Q. How was it playing with Yani and Karrie?
CHIE ARIMURA: Really good players, and Yani is really aggressive. She's doesn't hit short. And Karrie is really smart, also. She is very calm and really a good player.

Q. Do you think her experience helped her today?
CHIE ARIMURA: I don't think so, because today is a new day. We have a good round today.

Q. Do you think was there a difference between today and yesterday or the other three days?
CHIE ARIMURA: My putting was a bit short and it's no good.

Q. So they were going in the first three days and some of them were a little bit short today?
CHIE ARIMURA: Yes.

Q. What was the turning point today?

CHIE ARIMURA: Today, No. 11. So three behind to Karrie but I hit bogey and she had birdie, so I realise that I'm one behind. So No. 11 I think.

Q. Are you proud of the way you played today, because you got all the way to the end?
CHIE ARIMURA: Yes, I think so.

Q. How do you feel?
CHIE ARIMURA: Very happy. I'm disappointed with the result, disappointed. Very, very disappointed. But also very happy.

Q. One day do you hope to join the LPGA Tour?
CHIE ARIMURA: I'm thinking this week is really enjoyed it, and so I like the LPGA Tour. But I am playing in Japan. So maybe, maybe not.

Yani Tseng, -10

Q. Tell us your thoughts, pretty good week; third in the end.

YANI TSENG: Yeah, I can't wait to go back and take a break. It was fun today. I played great on the front nine. I just couldn't get it on the back nine. But I tried my best today and it was just great fun.
Karrie, she played very well on the back nine and she deserved to win. I'm very happy to see her win this tournament.

Q. And what about the amazing start you had, reeling off five birdies in a row there, you must have been thinking anything was possible.
YANI TSENG: Last night, I didn't think I was going to win today. And then after the front nine, I was thinking I can win today.
But I just didn't the back nine, I didn't quite play quite well, especially No. 10 and No. 12. That's an easy hole but I just missed a putt and like I said, I tried my best and I'm still very happy and very proud of myself to finish third.

Q. What will you do now? What do you have planned for the next few weeks?
YANI TSENG: I'm going to go back to Taiwan to do lots of press conferences for a couple of days, and then back to the States to get ready for the next three tournaments; the Founders Cup.

Q. You mentioned when you came in everybody was talking about this many wins, that many wins. You must be pretty happy, though, with what you did up against that sort of pressure?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, very happy, four is pretty good. Five would be perfect, but that's golf. This is why golf is so much fun.

Q. Did you grow up watching Karrie? Karrie she has not won in a few years but she's won so many times.
YANI TSENG: That's for sure. When I was younger, I watched Karrie playing golf all the time and then the first time played with Karrie, I was so nervous, and the first time I played with her, she shot 62, so I never forgot. Some of the putting tricks, I learn lots of things from Karrie Webb.

Q. There are lots of you youngsters on Tour at the moment, but what about one of the sort of veteran stars doing so well?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I think everybody is the same, doesn't matter how old you are. Everybody is always looking forward to winning a tournament. I always know that someone as experienced as Karrie or Juli, they have been here like 20 years, ten years, and it's just lots of fun to play with them.

Q. Tough round today, how do you feel about having come in here having won four tournaments to end your streak?

YANI TSENG: Yeah, I don't care at this point. I feel I tried my best and I played really good today. I played an awesome front nine. I felt really, really good and actually I told my friend, I'm going to win tomorrow I don't know, I have this very strong feel.
But that's how I played on the front nine but on the back nine I missed No. 10 and No. 11, short putts I missed. But I tried my best and I really enjoyed today. And Karrie played awesome on the back nine.

Q. You're not too disappointed?
YANI TSENG: No, it's not like I played really bad today, I had no chance. I tried really hard.


Topics: Notes and Interviews, HSBC Women's Champions

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