World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb turned back the clock a bit Saturday, firing a 7-under 64 in the third round of the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout at Las Colinas Country Club.
The 40-year-old veteran from Australia finds herself in third place with Fort Worth’s Angela Stanford, who shot 67, and second-round leader Brooke Henderson, the 17-year-old from Canada.
They are just a shot back of South Korea’s Inbee Park, 26, and Florida’s Lexi Thompson, 20, who share the lead at 204 going into Sunday’s final round.
The current U.S. Solheim Cup captain, 54-year-old Juli Inkster, was in second place after 36 holes but faded late to finish with a 73 and is four shots behind.
Both Webb and Inkster were among a group of standard bearers for the women’s game in the 1990s, and Webb, in her rookie season at age 21 in 1996, was the first woman to win $1 million in a season.
But with two wins last season, a total of 41 career victories and almost $20 million in career earnings, Webb said she’s working for one final career achievement.
“Obviously we have the Olympics next year and that’s really keeping me out here and keeping me working hard at it,” she said. “At the start of my career, I never envisioned being a part of the Olympics. I’d like to make the Australian team and then see what happens after that.”
Webb seeks to add a bit of Texas spice to her résumé. It’s her first start in the three-year history of the North Texas event.
Atop the leader board, Park and Thompson represent today’s LPGA.
Inkster, at least for a while Saturday, eyed Beth Daniel’s 11-year-old record as the oldest to win on the LPGA Tour. But Webb now represents the best challenge to wrestle away the title from the two leaders.
“Juli was a veteran when I was a rookie, so yeah, that puts it in perspective to see how impressive she’s been the last few weeks,” Webb said.
Webb had nine birdies in the third round and turned in a 31 after birdies on three of her final four holes of the front nine.
The par-4 14th hole, however, appears to be Webb’s kryptonite. She’s bogeyed it in every round this week, while opening with rounds of 73 and 68.
“I’ve struggled with that tee shot on 14 all week,” Webb said. “But it was a little bit windier in the afternoon and the greens are starting to dry out. If I can get through 14 and 15 tomorrow, I don’t know, maybe that can hold up.”
Webb’s dominance and rivalry with Annika Sorenstam helped guide the LPGA Tour for a decade starting in ’96.
But the 19-year veteran said her game has evolved into a much different form late in her career.
“I think I’m a more complete player now,” she said. “I just don’t have that 21-year-old mindset anymore. I wish I could bottle that up with how I play the game now and it would be a pretty good package.”
(T8) Juli Inkster