Australia’s Greatest Golfer: Karrie Webb v Peter Senior

Two quiet-achieving Queenslanders, Karrie Webb and Peter Senior made their presence known by simply stacking up trophy after trophy both here and abroad.

A shy girl from Ayr in central Queensland, Webb burst into the consciousness of world golf when at just 20 years of age she claimed the Weetabix Women’s British Open. Five years later she had fulfilled the criteria to be elevated into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Senior too wasted little time asserting himself on the professional ranks – he won the 1979 South Australian Open a year after turning pro – yet for the majority of his career carried himself as the underdog who ground down the best players on the planet on a regular basis.

Aussie golf fans must now choose between two of our most revered figures to decide who will advance to the quarter-finals in our search for Australia’s Greatest Golfer.

Webb moved into the second round by winning the vote against PGA pioneer Eric Cremin while Senior advanced at the expense of Mike Clayton, two of Queensland’s finest products now pitted against each other for a place in the final 16.

When Webb turned 25 on December 21, 1999 she had already accumulated 16 wins on the LPGA Tour including her first major at the du Maurier Classic earlier that year yet over the following two years she would embark on a run of success that rivalled peak Tiger Woods.

As Woods completed the ‘Tiger Slam’ with victory at the 2001 US Masters, Webb herself was in the midst of a period in which she would claim four majors among 10 LPGA Tour victories, a run that prompted fellow Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez to declare that Webb had established herself “as the Tiger Woods of women’s golf”.

Except for the fanfare.

On home soil she was next to unbeatable, winning the Australian Ladies Masters four years in a row from 1998-2001 and winning the 2000 and 2002 Women’s Australian Open, virtually every round an exhibition of flawless execution.

Like Webb, Senior’s summers were spent out of the limelight right up until the point that he emerged from Greg Norman’s shadow to slip on yet another yellow jacket at Huntingdale or raise the Joe Kirkwood Cup into the air.

With the broomstick putter now protruding from the top of his golf bag, Senior went on a run in 1989 that stands as one of the most dominant performances ever seen in Australian golf.

A courageous approach at the 71st hole at Riverside Oaks saw Senior claim the Australian PGA by a stroke from American Jim Benepe. Three weeks later he destroyed a stellar Australian Open field by seven strokes at Kingston Heath and then seven days on finished five strokes clear of Norman to win the Johnnie Walker Classic at Royal Melbourne and complete the ‘Triple Crown’.

While that brilliant burst lives long in the memory Senior’s greatest accomplishment is to have won in every decade for the past 50 years and completing the post-50 ‘Triple Crown’ when he won the 2015 Australian Masters at 56 years of age.

Karrie Webb
Career wins: 57
Major wins: 7 (1999 du Maurier Classic, 2000 Nabisco Championship, US Women’s Open, 2001 McDonald’s LPGA Championship, US Women’s Open, 2002 Weetabix Women’s British Open, 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship)
LPGA Tour wins: 41
Women’s Australian Open: Won (2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2014)
Australian Ladies Masters: Won (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013)

Peter Senior
Career wins: 34
European Tour wins: 4
Australasian Tour wins: 21
Australian Open: Won (1989, 2012)
Australian PGA: Won (1989, 2003, 2010)

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