Originally created 02/25/02

Sorenstam beats Webb in playoff



GOLD COAST, Australia -- Annika Sorenstam ended Karrie Webb's hope to make history.

Sorenstam, the top-ranked player in women's golf, parred the fourth playoff hole to win the Australian Ladies Masters on Sunday.

Webb had been attempting to become the first golfer to win the same tournament five years in a row. But Sorenstam shot a final-round 69 while Webb had problems all day en route to an even-par 72.

Tied at 10-under 278, Sorenstam won when Webb bogeyed the fourth playoff hole, the 18th at Royal Pines.

Sorenstam and Webb had been pictured together on the "Main Event" pre-tournament poster, but they played in the same group during the tournament only in the playoff.

Each made par-saving putts of about three feet on the first playoff hole. On the second, Sorenstam missed a 10-footer for birdie that would have given her the win.

Both players had poor tee shots on the third playoff hole but recovered.

Webb's par putt on the 18th slid past the cup and Sorenstam only had to tap in for par for the win.

Sorenstam sunk consecutive 30-foot putts - one for par on 13, the other for birdie on 14 - to stay in contention in the final round.

"It was meant to be," said Sorenstam of her putt on 13. "I hadn't made a long putt all week and suddenly I'm making a long one for par."

Sorenstam knew how much a win would have meant to Webb.

"No one has ever won five in a row before, and playing before her home crowd, it would have been great," said Sorenstam. "But I've been in playoffs before, and lost. Today was my day."

Webb was surprised to even be there.

"I'm disappointed not to win it, but I was lucky to get into the playoff," said Webb. "It just wasn't there today. I struggled right from the start."

With Sorenstam, who had trailed by three shots going into the final round, in the clubhouse, Webb's tee shot on 18 in regulation nearly went into a fairway bunker. Webb had to stand in the bunker to make her shot from light rough, putting her shot on the green and about 30 feet left of the pin.

Two putts later and after Webb's par, the playoff was on.

Webb lost the lead in regulation on 16 when her eight-foot par putt lipped out - her third bogey of the back nine - but she pulled back into a tie with Sorenstam on the 17th with a 12-footer for birdie.

When Webb won her fourth Australian Masters last year, she joined Gene Sarazen, Walter Hagen, Laura Davies and Tom Morris Jr., as golfers who had won the same tournament four times in a row.

Davies won the Standard Register Ping tournament in Arizona from 1994 to 1997 inclusive, Hagen the U.S. PGA Championship from 1924 to 1927 and Morris the British Open four tournaments in a row from 1868.

Sarazen won a Los Angeles-based tournament that is no longer on the PGA tour four years in a row in the 1930s.

Australian Michelle Ellis was alone in third after a 72 Sunday.

The best round of the day was Davies' 66, which pulled her into a tie for fourth place at 7-under 281 and will give her some confidence going into next week's Australian Open at Yarra Yarra in Melbourne, where Webb is also playing.

Also tied for fourth were Helen Alfredsson of Sweden - with a 68 Sunday - and Charlotta Sorenstam, Annika's younger sister, with a 71.