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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:07 a.m., Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Webb riding a big wave as LPGA Tour season begins

By Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

The LPGA Tour finally gets under way this week at Turtle Bay, ending 88 days without a shot that counted toward official money.

The last shot of the 2006 season was worth $1 million to Julieta Granada, who captured the ADT Championship in Florida. Most eyes at the SBS Open in Hawaii on Thursday will be on Lorena Ochoa, coming off a six-victory season that allowed her to supplant Annika Sorenstam as LPGA player of the year.

But one player already brings a load of momentum to Turtle Bay.

Karrie Webb became almost an afterthought at the end of last season because of the Ochoa-Sorenstam dynamics. But the 32-year-old Australian had a year to remember — five victories and her seventh career major when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in a playoff with Ochoa. Webb lost another major in a playoff, and she went over $2 million in earnings.

She arrived on Oahu with two victories already this year, winning the Australian Women's Open by six shots and the Australian Ladies Masters by two shots, despite finishing with back-to-back bogeys.

"I take a lot of positives, a lot of confidence into the next two weeks in Hawaii," she said.

Sorenstam, meanwhile, is taking the first two weeks off, and the only question is whether she remains atop the women's world ranking when she makes her debut in Mexico on March 9.

She had a comfortable margin over Ochoa at the end of last season, but now leads by only 2.6 points, with Webb 2.8 points behind.