Aug. 2, 2004
SUNNINGDALE, England –
Karen Stupples, who earned All-America honors at Florida State in 1994 and 1995, won the 2004 Women’s British Open in record fashion as she earned her first major and second tournament win of her career August 1. Stupples became the first British player to win a major championship sponsored by the LPGA since 1997 as she defeated Rachel Teske of Australia by five strokes.
Stupples became the third Seminole to win a major tournament on the LPGA Tour. Jane Geddes won the 1986 U.S. Women’s Open. Geddes was a member of Florida State’s 1981 A.I.A.W national championship team. Colleen Walker, Florida State’s Most Valuable Golfer in 1987 and 1988, won the du Maurier Classic in 1997.
Stupples tied LPGA records for low 72-hole score in a major (269) and most strokes under par in a major (-19). She tied Dottie Pepper who also finished with a 19-under par 269 at the 1999 Kraft Nabisco Championship. Stupples also tied the Women’s British Open record of 269 set by Karrie Webb in 1997.
Stupples shot an eight-under par 64 in the final round at the Old Course at Sunningdale to gain the victory. She began the final round in third place behind Heather Bowie and Teske and started the final round with an eagle on No. 1 and a double eagle on No. 2. Despite her hot start, Stupples was tied with Teske after 12 holes but pulled away with long birdie putts on 15, 16 and 17. Teske finished the event with a 14-under par scored of 274. Annika Sorenstam finished in a tie for 13th place with an eight-under par score of 280.
“I knew I needed to get off to a good start today,” Stupples told LPGA.com following the event. “I was really anticipating just birdie, birdie – something like that would have done quite nicely. But then when I hit a good shot in at the first, I thought, well, let’s see if we can make this and get off to a good start; and, of course the putt went in.”
Stupples, a three-year letter winner at Florida State, earned All-America honors in 1994 and 1995. She led Florida State to an 18th place finish at the 1994 NCAA Championship and to strong finishes at both the 1995 and 1996 NCAA East Regional Championships. Stupples was a two-time All-ACC selection and was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary team in 2003.
The victory was especially sweet for the Dover, England native who played in front of her family and countless friends in the gallery.
“It’s what I grew up watching as a young girl,” said Stupples. “This is all that I had been exposed to, really, growing up. I wasn’t really exposed to the LPGA very much. It was just unbelievable. To have my parents here this week was very, very special because they weren’t there for my first tour win. To be here live and in person was really very special.”
The victory was Stupples’ second of the year and second of her career. Earlier this year she gained her first career LPGA Tour win at the Welch’s/Fry’s Championship in Tucson, Ariz.
Stupples earned $290,880 for her victory at the British Open. She has now won a single-season personal-best $711,930 is currently ranked sixth on the official earnings list for the 2004 season. She joins only Sorenstam and Meg Mallon as multiple tournament winners this season on the LPGA Tour.