Webb Leads Rain-Delayed LPGA Championship


Rain postponed the opening round of the McDonalds LPGA Championship, leaving Karrie Webb in the same position she finished the tournament a year ago ' at the top of the leaderboard.
Webb was 5-under-par through 15 holes before play was initially suspended at 4:12 PM ET. Beth Daniel is the clubhouse leader, having shot 4-under 67 at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del.
Exactly half of the 144-woman field will resume their first rounds at 7:30 AM Friday, with the second round starting at 9:00 AM. Annika Sorenstam, who claimed the seasons first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, shot a 1-under 70.
Its always good to be under par at a major, Sorenstam said. If youre not on your game, its going to be tough to score out here.
Webb is trying to step out of the considerable shadow once again cast by Sorenstam this season. Both players have won an unofficial event in Australia. But in the States its 4-0, in favor of Annika.
Sorenstam has four LPGA Tour victories to her credit in 2002, while Webb is still seeking her first.
Last year, however, Webb didnt claim win No. 1 until the second major of the season ' the U.S. Womens Open. She then went on to win this tournament ' which was contested in late June ' to complete the career Grand Slam.
Thursday, she recorded five birdies and no bogeys prior to being forced off the course. After a front-nine 2-under 33, Webb knocked a sand wedge to three feet on the par-5 11th to move to 3-under. She then rolled home a 20-footer for birdie at No. 12, and did the same at the 14th.
Webb had a four-footer for par on No. 16 when she backed off, seeing an LPGA official with an air horn in her hand, ready to signal the stoppage of play.
I felt good on the course, Webb said. The rough is still up and the greens are just as firm (as last year). Im glad they kept it that way. Theres not one easy shot to play, so that keeps me focused.
Lorie Kane is at 3-under through 12 holes, while Natascha Fink of Austria is 3-under through 10.
Only six of the 72 players who finished their first rounds Friday were able to shoot under par. Even with overnight rains, competitors found the greens firm and fast.
'I've played every tournament that's been at DuPont. This is the quickest the greens have ever been,' said 1990 champion Daniel. 'It just makes it a very, very fine line between playing well and not playing well. You don't have to be that far off to not play well.'
Full-field scores from the McDonald's LPGA Championship