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Webb rests on 65

Karrie Webb beats rain for 5-shot lead; many must finish round this morning.

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 2, 2001


SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. -- The rain came fast and furious Friday, the kind of downpour only dreamed about by Floridians and their golf courses. It wreaked havoc with the U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, causing a second-round delay that will spill into today.

photo
[AP photos]
Karrie Webb, checking for rain, finished her second round before Open play was suspended.
It hardly mattered to Karrie Webb. She had set a Pine Needles course record by shooting 5-under-par 65 when the bad weather arrived. She was done and atop the leaderboard, an extremely nice position, considering the torment faced by many today.

"People are going to have to come back (this morning) and finish and it's tiring," Webb said. "To play to dark and get up to finish the next morning takes a lot out of you. I'll be able to get a good night's sleep and not have to really worry about what's happening."

And everyone else will have to worry about Webb.

Webb's 36-hole total was 135, 5 under par. Of the players who finished, only Juli Inkster and Kristi Albers were within five shots at 140. Rosie Jones, who double-bogeyed her last hole, shot 68 and was six back. First-round co-leader A.J. Eathorne trailed Webb by just two strokes, but she completed just four holes of her second round. Cindy Figg-Currier, the other first-round co-leader, never teed off. The only other players under par are Mi Hyun Kim, (2 under through four holes) and Se Ri Pak (1 under through two holes). Annika Sorenstam, the winner of five LPGA titles this year, finished just two holes and was 1 over par, six behind Webb.

Weather stopped play at 11:47 a.m., 1:19 p.m. and 2:36 p.m. Despite efforts to restart, players never got back onto the course, with play called at 5:36. They will attempt to finish the second round beginning at 7 this morning, with the third round to follow. Of the 150 players in the field, 105 did not finish their second round and 30 did not begin their round.

The defending U.S. Women's Open champion could not have had better timing. She put together one of her best rounds of the year, beating the weather and putting herself in position to win for the first time on the LPGA Tour in 2001.

"I've been working on a few things and I felt the weeks leading up to this that every day it was coming around a bit more," said Webb, 26, who matched her best round in a U.S. Open. "I put in a hard week's work last week and really felt good about where my game was, enough to think I had a chance at the Open and at least put myself into contention for the weekend.

"And that was my main goal -- not put myself too far out of it Thursday and Friday, give myself a shot on the weekend."

photo
Morgan Pressel agonizes over a missed birdie putt. The 13-year-old, with two holes left, will miss the cut.
Webb has given herself several opportunities this year, she just has not won. At least not on the LPGA Tour. She has victories in Australia and Japan and has posted six top 10s, including three seconds, in nine LPGA events.

But it pales compared with winning 13 times over the past two seasons. The winner of three of the past six major championships has been shut out -- so far.

"One thing I've been lacking this year is to keep the roll going. I haven't done the right thing," Webb said. "On 15 (her sixth hole), I holed a 10-footer (for par) to stay 1 under for the tournament. That kept the roll going. ... So I did the right things at the right time. And I think that's probably what I'm most happy about, to make those par putts to keep the momentum going in the right direction."

Webb made five birdies and no bogeys, missed just two fairways and needed only 24 putts. And when she did come close to trouble, she saved pars with a couple of tricky putts.

"Karrie is playing great," said Inkster, who played with Webb and shot 72 to drop to 140, par. "She played awesome. I'm going to have to start hitting the ball better to give it a shot."

"You know she is going to shoot good numbers out here," said Jones, an 11-time LPGA Tour winner. "It doesn't surprise me at all. Webb has played really well all year long. She's very hungry for a win this year and she's standing at attention right now. Got my attention."

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