St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

With five-shot lead, Webb masters field

The 23-time LPGA champ from Australia is poised to end her season-long drought in style.

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 3, 2001


SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. -- The lead is five strokes, which seemingly is insurmountable. Karrie Webb is the only player in the field with two rounds under par at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, and she is one round from defending her U.S. Women's Open title.

An 18-hole coronation could be in order, a stroll through the North Carolina woods to another major championship.

Webb knows better.

A year ago, she took a four-shot advantage into the final round at the Merit Club, only to be caught by Meg Mallon. Webb prevailed, but it wasn't easy. Nothing is easy at the U.S. Women's Open.

"It's not hard to play with a big lead if you don't take for granted the big lead that you have," Webb said. "Five shots is not enough. There's a lot of golf left out there, and I know as much as anybody how quickly things can turn around."

Webb has a five-shot lead over 1998 Open champion Se Ri Pak. With 1-under-par 69, Webb completed 54 holes at 6-under 204. Pak, who shot 70, was the only other player under par (209). Scotland's Catriona Matthew shot 70 to finish at 210. Juli Inkster (71), Wendy Doolan (70) and Japan's Yri Fudoh (70) were tied for fourth at 211, seven shots back.

"It's not going to be easy," Pak said of trying to catch Webb. "She is a great player, very strong. I need to play my golf, play as smart as I can."

A player has come from five strokes back six times to win the Open, the last being Annika Sorenstam in 1995. Sorenstam's Grand Slam bid appears to be over. She was 11 back after 73.

In fact, the way the Pine Needles course is playing, it appears Webb will have to give her challengers some help if they are going to catch her. Webb's 69 was one of just two scores under par. Grace Park, tied for 17th, also shot 69.

Webb had to play only 18 holes Saturday while a majority had holes to finish in the morning as part of the weather-delayed second round. It made for a long day.

Pak, for example, was up at 4 a.m. and played 34 holes. The third round was not completed until after 8 p.m.

"For the most part, that was quite a bit advantage," said Webb, who took a three-stroke advantage into the third round over A.J. Eathorne, who shot 75. "I think it's one of the reasons why we didn't see as many under-par scores this afternoon. A lot of those girls played 18 holes this morning. And it's grueling enough. I'm tired, I'm drained having played 18 holes, let alone having to play 36."

After shooting 65 Friday, Webb followed with another strong round. She hit all 14 fairways and has gone 32 holes without bogey. She leads in fairways hit and greens in regulation.

And Webb is a pretty good bet with a final-round lead in her LPGA career. She has been in front 21 times, winning 13. In 1999-2000, she held a final-round lead 11 times and won 10, including the Open.

"Karrie is one of the best players out here," Sorenstam said of Webb, who has 23 LPGA victories but none this year. "If somebody can play well at these type of courses, she can.

"She hasn't won this year, but she's such a solid player. She had a good break and worked a lot on her game. She was ready to play. It doesn't surprise me to see her play this well. She is a long hitter and this course fits her game."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Boxing
  • Ali vs. Frazier: The next generation

  • Golf
  • With five-shot lead, Webb masters field
  • Sorenstam stammers to 73

  • Lightning
  • Mogilny a better risk than Jagr

  • Devil Rays
  • Rays flop early and often in a comical loss
  • For better or worse
  • Consistency eluding Sturtze
  • From the rubble rises a rose named Rolls
  • Rays tales

  • Baseball
  • Ex-Green Devil star signs with Mets
  • Walking a mile in his shoes
  • Baseball this week on TV
  • Alou pays price for his loyalty

  • Mutiny
  • Garlick debunks soccer myths
  • Fans see lead, just not win

  • Letters
  • Ruling on Martin out of bounds

  • Colleges
  • Stetson, Central Florida could surprise
  • NCAA men's golf title goes to Florida
  • Error in 10th sends Georgia past FSU 8-7
  • Southern Cal reaches College World Series

  • Outdoors
  • Largo's Stein has a talent for landing terrific tarpon
  • Outdoors calendar
  • Daily fishing report

  • Et cetera
  • Week in sports
  • Highs and lows

  • Preps
  • Cougar dominated on two levels
  • Wharton star named state's best
  • Mustangs thrive 20 years later


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts