Webb wins Michelob Ultra Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/golfgeneric1.jpg' class='caption'> Karrie Webb has won the Michelob Ultra Open by seven shots, once again showing that she's on her way back to being an elite player.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Karrie Webb has won the Michelob Ultra Open by seven shots, once again showing that she's on her way back to being an elite player. "I think the last four weeks proved to probably a lot of people and proved to myself, as well, that Kraft wasn't a fluke,'' Webb said referring to her victory in the US LPGA's first major, the Kraft Nabisco, in April. "I didn't come out of nowhere, pop up, win that and disappear again.'' Since that victory, her seventh in a major championship, Webb has two second-place finishes, a 10th and now, the US LPGA Tour's third start-to-finish victory of the year. The 1999 and 2000 player of the year also is the only two-time winner this season. Victory margin Her victory margin was the largest of the season on the tour. But despite a Hall of Fame resume, she said her 31 career victories before Sunday were of no value as she was trying to figure out how to get No. 32. "I haven't played with a five-shot lead for a long time,'' she said. "You're trying to keep yourself in the same game plan as you've had for the last three days, but at the same time, you don't want to make too many mistakes.'' The Australian made very few mistakes and finished with a one-under 70 for a 14-under 270 total on the River Course at Kingsmill. She opened with rounds of 66, 68 and 66. "I think I was nervous probably until the 16th hole," she said, recalling a six-iron into stiff wind from 173 yards to a pin tucked in the left corner on the par 4. She hit her shot to 15 feet, then rolled in the putt to effectively seal the victory. Lorena Ochoa had her fourth second-place finish in her last five starts and her fifth in eight events this season. She also won in Las Vegas. She also said she knew it was over long before Webb. "When she made a mistake, made a bogey, right after, she made a birdie,'' Ochoa said. "She never gave any room or hoping to get her. She played very solid, very consistent.'' After a tap-in par on the final hole, Webb was hugging her caddie, Mike Paterson, when Paterson's wife, Tanya, and two other caddies ran out and sprayed her with beer. Ochoa closed with a 72, failing after an opening birdie to keep the pressure on the Australian. Hee-Won Han shared second place after a 70, but was unavailable to speak with reporters because she was late catching a plane. It was Ochoa's third runner-up finish at Kingsmill. "The more chances you have, the more wins you're going to get,'' the Mexican star said. "This is going to make me stronger and now I really want to win bad.'' Pat Hurst and defending champion Cristie Kerr, who started the day tied with Ochoa five shots back, tied for fourth with Paula Creamer at 6-under 278. Kerr and Mi Hyun Kim, who tied for seventh, have both finished in the top 10 in all four years at Kingsmill. Former champions Grace Park and Se Ri Pak never contended this week. Pak finished 25th, and Park tied for 51st. Play was halted for 1 hour, 42 minutes midway through the leaders' round by rain, and once it resumed, Webb put it away. Her par on the par-4 10th came as Ochoa was making double bogey, putting the lead at seven strokes with eight holes to play. "From there, it wasn't too scary,'' Webb said. She cruised to her 19th career victory in 30 tries when leading going into the final round. Webb credits two changes with sparking her turnaround - one to her swing after 2 1/2 years of work, the other to her expectations after seeking perfection in the past. Now, she worries less about style points and more about scoring, although she was almost robotically steady this week. Over four rounds, she had just six bogeys, three in an opening 66 when she had eight birdies. She finished with 21 birdies in all. Her consistency was demoralizing for those trying to chase her. When Webb needed three shots from the front fringe and made bogey at the par-4 6th on Sunday, it was her first in 32 holes. Playing partners Ochoa and Hurst both also made bogey on the hole, allowing Webb to maintain her six-stroke advantage. Webb lost two shots off the lead on the next two holes with a par and bogey, but her birdie at the par-4 ninth and Ochoa's double at the par-4 10th ended the suspense. (AP)

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