It was an up-and-down day for Sweden and Australia Sunday during the final round of the inaugural Women's World Cup Golf. Australia's Karrie Webb and Rachel Hetherington, who began the day three strokes behind Sweden's sisterly duo of Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam, survived Malaysia's sweltering heat to post a three-under-par 141 team total the final day, overtake the Swedes and claim a two-stroke victory and the $200,000 first-place prize.
Webb posted five birdies and one bogey en route to a four-under-par 68, while Hetherington had four birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey for a one-over-par 73, giving Australia a 275 (-13) final score. Annika Sorenstam had four birdies and a double-bogey for a two-under-par 70, while Charlotta Sorenstam struggled to a four-over-par 76 by way of six bogeys and just two birdies as Sweden finished two strokes back at 277 (-11).
"I am very excited that we have won the World Cup," said Hetherington. "This is the inaugural event and the only chance we get to represent Australia, so I am pretty pleased that we won."
"It is great to win the Women's World Cup and is the first time we have been able to play together to represent Australia," said Webb. "It is great that our names are the first on the trophy and the first in many years. It is exciting, and I really enjoyed the three days that I played with Rachel."
Sweden began the day by widening its lead to six strokes over Australia after three holes thanks to a birdie by Charlotta Sorenstam on the second hole and a Hetherington bogey on the first hole and double-bogey on the third. Webb notched her second consecutive birdie on the fourth hole to bring the Aussies back to within five strokes at nine-under-par for the event.
A Hetherington birdie, coupled with the first of five-straight bogeys for Charlotta Sorenstam on the fifth hole, left Webb and Hetherington just three back. Australia took the lead for good with a pair of birdies on the par-3 seventh hole, combined with Charlotta Sorenstam's bogey-four.
The Aussies' lead ballooned to five strokes on the eighth hole after Hetherington recorded a birdie, Charlotta Sorenstam a bogey and Annika Sorenstam a double-bogey, providing a four-shot swing in favor of the Australians. Their lead grew to seven shots (15-under-par to eight-under-par) after the ninth hole when Webb and Hetherington carded birdies and Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam evened out with a birdie and a bogey, respectively.
"Overall, to finish second is not bad," said Annika Sorenstam. "We were six shots ahead after three holes and things were looking really good and then we came to the seventh and I made a double-bogey on the eighth, which hurt. Then Lotta made a bogey and Rachel made a long putt, so suddenly we had a change of four shots on one hole. But, we tried and fought to the end and that is just the way it goes."
The teams played holes 10 through 15 with Australia holding a commanding lead before the Swedes made a final charge. The Australians' lead dropped to five shots after a Webb bogey on the 16th hole, then shrunk to just two with a three-shot swing on the 17th hole. Both Sorenstams birdied the par-5 17th hole, while Hetherington bogeyed, bringing the Swedes to within just two shots at 11-under-par.
Australia led by just two entering the Mines Resort and Golf Club's finishing hole, a 397-yard par-4, but four birdies across the board left Webb and Hetherington atop the leaderboard two strokes ahead of Sweden.
The United States' team of Meg Mallon and Juli Inkster climbed into a third-place finish at 280 (-8) via a four-under-par 68 from Mallon and a one-over-par 73 from Inkster. Canada finished fourth after posting a 139 (-5) final-round total, finishing with a six-under-par 282 score.
Peru rounded out the top five at 283 (-5), while host Malaysia finished 13th with a 296 (+8) total. Other teams competing in the event, with their order of finish in parenthesis, were: Japan (sixth); Scotland (seventh); Taiwan (eighth); England (tie-ninth); Korea (tie-ninth); New Zealand (10th); France (11th); Colombia (14th); Philippines (15th); and Italy (16th).