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Webb Leads Elite Field

There was very little evidence of rust on Karrie Webbs game Thursday, even though its been four or five weeks since she competed in an LPGA Tour event. During that time Webb took a solid two weeks off from golf before returning to her playing and practicing schedule.
Now as the first round of the season-ending Tyco/ADT Tour Championship closes, it is Webb ' winner of two majors this season ' who has thus far denied course owner Donald Trump his dream of wanting even par to be leading this championship.
Webb shot 35-32-67, making a total of three bogeys in the process ' two of which were on the front nine.
The Aussie made bogey on the par-4 first after hitting her 3-wood into the right fairway bunker. Her second bogey of the day fell on the 496-yard par-5 9th after missing the green and winding up in the left bunker.
Using her wedge, she hit it to within 15 feet of the hole only to two-putt. I havent really played a competitive round in four or five weeks, Webb said. Took me a while to settle into the round.
The third, and final, of Webbs bogeys fell on the second-to-last hole. This is where playing partner Annika Sorenstam double bogeyed.
I actually misjudged the wind there and hit it short right on the green, Webb said. But I probably had, I dont know, a 50-, 60-footer. I three-putted. Annika missed the green left in the hazard. Long story short, she didnt get up and down.
Nonetheless, her 5-under-par 67 was just enough to edge out Sorenstam, who shot 33-35 to finish at 4-under 68.
There were many similarities in Webb's and Sorenstam's games Thursday. They both birdied five of the same holes - the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 12th and 18th.
In the end it was the differences that set them apart.
It was on No. 17 that Sorenstam, who had been tied for the lead coming into the final holes, became deflated. Her double bogey on the second-to-last hole left her scrambling to make up ground with only one hole remaining.
It was more important for me (to match Karrie) because I was very upset on 17 for many reasons, Sorenstam said. I felt I played so well all day. You know, I have to birdie this hole, I dont care. I ripped my driver, 7-iron. Pretty much made it from the fairway. Thats how pumped up I was to finish with birdie.
Early leader Marisa Baena ended the day two strokes off the lead and in a tie with three others - Wendy Doolan, Grace Park and Meg Mallon ' all of who are tied at 3-under-par 69.
In the 33rd position on the money list, Baena did not automatically qualify for the event, yet she wasted no time proving that she should be there. Baena carded back-to-back bogeys on the first two holes of the day before rallying into the red with two birdies.
I knew that the third hole was a par-5, Baena said. I reached it on two. I made a two-putt for birdie. Then No. 4, actually made a birdie again. It was about ten feet. That put me back to even again. It was just like nothing had happened.'
The girl who just a week ago was third alternate into the field finished with a solid par and now finds herself a mere two strokes off the lead.
Although this is her first appearance, Baena is feeling no pressure amongst the illustrious field.
I was a little bit nervous, Baena said. Top 30 (players), Im at the bottom of the list. Oh, great. I was like, Im going to go out there, enjoy it. I thought Free money. Money I can go and spend during my off-season. But of course, like everybody else, I wanted to come out here and win.
Park made bogey on the first and didnt bogey a hole again until the par-4 16th. Park made six birdies in her round, taking the outright tournament lead at 5-under-par. Park then proceeded to bogey two of the three closing holes, which left her tied at 3-under-par.
You know, I feel good, but Im mad because I finished with two bogeys, Park said. It sucks.
Pat Hurst, seven months pregnant with her second child (due Jan. 16), started the day with back-to-back bogeys and never did recover. She made the turn at 2-over-par 38 and finished her round 43 strokes later at 9-over for the day.
Hurst had not expected to play in the season-ending event.
Until two weeks ago, I hadnt touched a club for a month, since the week of Sept. 11, the three-time tournament winner said. So Im really just going to go out and try to do the best I can.'
Full-field scores from the LPGA Tour Championship