Originally created 05/07/00

Webb leads by eight shots



INAGI, Japan -- Karrie Webb shot an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to take a comfortable eight-stroke lead going into the final round of the Nichirei Cup World Ladies.

The U.S. tour leader birdied four of the first seven holes and went on to score an eagle and four more birdies against two bogeys on the back nine after starting the day with a three-shot lead.

The round left the 26-year-old Queenslander, the LPGA Tour's top money winner last season, at a 13-under 203 total, eight shots ahead of Yuri Fudoh and Junko Yasui.

Webb, winner of four LPGA tournaments so far this season, is in contention for her first victory in Japan. Her best finish here was a tie for third in the 1996 Chukyo TV-Bridgeston Ladies.

"Today's highlight was the chip-in at the 17th, and I also sank a number of putts from various distances," said Webb. "I may not need another 64 tomorrow. But I'll just try to score as many birdies as I can because anything can happen in golf."

After making four straight birdies from No. 13 on the back side, Webb knocked in a wedge shot for the eagle on the par-5 17th. She bogeyed the par-5 11th and the par-3 18th after hooking tee shots.

Fudoh, seeking her second career victory, and Yasui, winner of 12 titles, each shot 69 to share second at 211.

Mineko Nasu was another stroke back at 212 after a 69, followed by Kaori Higo and Nayoko Yoshikawa, tied for fifth at 214. Yoshikawa, winner of 29 tournaments, shot a 69 and Higo turned in a 66.

Yoshikawa, 51, needs one more victory to gain permanent exempt status on the Japanese tour.

Veteran Ayako Okamoto shot a 73 and was alone in seventh at 215.

South Korean Se Ri Pak, the 1998 LPGA rookie of the year, finally regained her touch and fashioned a 68 for a share of 14th at 219. On Friday, she barely qualified for the last 36 holes.

"I'm glad I played a lot better today," Pak said. "Hopefully I'll play the final round in a manner as to impress the big throng we have out there."

Pak still hopes her improved sight pays off on the course after having laser eye surgery months ago.