Originally created 10/06/01

Webb roars into lead in World Championship



VALLEJO, Calif. -- Karrie Webb probably won't overtake Annika Sorenstam to win her third straight Player of the Year award. She still can put a strong finish on another excellent season, however.

Playing the consistently outstanding golf that made her the game's premiere player over the past two years, Webb shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead over Dorothy Delasin in the Samsung World Championship.

Delasin, a second-year pro who grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, had a 71 for a 3-under 141 total. Rachel Teske, who tied Se Ri Pak for third at 142, shot a 65 to establish a women's record at the young course. Pak had a 72.

Despite another day of unpredictable wind, Webb made nine birdies on the long, winding holes of Hiddenbrooke Golf Club. Only a comical triple bogey on No. 14 prevented her from leaping well ahead of the elite field, comprised of 20 top female players.

"I haven't seen good golf like that for a couple of months," Webb said. "Apart from a couple of bad breaks on one hole, I feel good about the way things went."

Webb doesn't see herself passing Annika Sorenstam to become the year's best player, since she'll only be playing two more tour events after leaving Northern California. Sorenstam is 1 over after two rounds of the $750,000 event.

"You never say never, and I don't even know what the points are, but I'd have to win the remaining events I'm in, and have Annika not play well, which I don't see happening," Webb said.

"It's not something you're going to win every year, but that's not going to make or break my season. Even if I play terrible for the rest of the year, I'll still feel like I've had a good year."

Since winning the LPGA Championship in late June to complete the career Grand Slam, Webb hasn't finished higher than sixth. Her grandfather, Mick Collinson, died in Australia three days after her victory - while Webb was rushing home to see him.

Webb was gunning for the course record at Hiddenbrooke before a triple bogey on the 14th hole, thanks to a tee shot that landed next to a huge boulder. She and her caddy considered trying to move the rock, but it was much too big.

Her second shot headed for a cart path; three putts later, she was off a record pace, but still atop the leaderboard.

"I guess the yardage markers out here are 300-pound boulders - and they have little flowers all around them, so that makes it nice," Webb said with a grin.

Course conditions improved over Thursday's cold and windy round, though the wind still forced golfers to be extra-careful on the Arnold Palmer-designed course.

Teske, who improved 12 strokes from Thursday's 5-over 77, made eight birdies and needed just 22 putts to move three strokes behind Webb, a fellow Australian. She got plenty of advice from her husband, Dean, who is taking his once-a-year turn as her caddie.

"We didn't fight much, so it was a pretty good day," Teske said.

Delasin, in search of her third career victory, had a loud gallery filled with everyone from her sister, Divina, to Jo Hamilton, her coach at San Francisco's George Washington High School.

"If I won, a lot of my family and friends would be around to share the moment with me," Delasin said. "If not, it's still great to see them supporting me."

Pak, Thursday's co-leader with Delasin, had a wildly inconsistent round, dropping five strokes off the lead before rallying with three birdies in the final five holes.

Mi Hyun Kim and defending champion Juli Inkster both shot 70s on Friday to move five strokes behind Webb. Inkster, a huge baseball fan who lives in nearby Los Altos, planned to grab a quick nap on Friday afternoon before heading to Pacific Bell Park to watch Barry Bonds' attempt to set a new home run record.

"I probably need to shoot 67-67 to win this," Inkster said. "I got myself back in there a little bit. When the wind blows, if you shoot 68, you can pass a lot of people. I'd like to have some bad weather. That would be great."