Originally created 02/28/05

Webb celebrates comeback win



GOLD COAST, Australia - The stony face was nowhere in sight. Karrie Webb was ready to celebrate this time.

She dropped to her knees, thrust her right arm in the air and pumped it high following a chip-in for an eagle at the ANZ Ladies Masters on Sunday. The shot on the third hole sent her on her way to her fifth victory at Royal Pines.

"Every now and then I cut loose," Webb said after her 5-under-par 67 left her with a one-stroke victory.

Trailing third-round leader Ai Miyazato by four strokes going into the final round, Webb responded quickly with a birdie on the second hole. Her approach to the par-5 third hole nearly went into a pond right of the green, but it held on the fringe. Then her 60-foot chip bounced three times before rolling into the cup.

"I don't keep my emotions in on purpose, I just react to things," Webb said. "I just naturally reacted to holing that shot. It was huge, and it went in."

On the next hole, a birdie pulled her even. She went ahead by one with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole, knocking Miyazato of the lead for the first time in the tournament. Miyazato shot a course-record-tying 63 Thursday.

"It was very satisfying, considering the way Ai started," Webb said. "On Friday, I was still seven shots behind. Obviously, that was a big hole to come back from, but I played well all week."

Webb made a 3-footer for a bogey on the 18th, meaning she wouldn't have to go to a playoff with Miyazato. The Australian finished at 16-under 272 while Miyazato closed with a 72.

In her 12 appearances at this event, Webb has also finished second four times and been outside the top 10 just once.

It was a solid return to form for Webb, who has been replaced by Annika Sorenstam as the leading player in women's golf. In 2002, Webb became the youngest player to complete a career Grand Slam, and last year she passed $10 million in prize money on the LPGA Tour.

Webb travels to Mexico City for an LPGA tournament next week in the right frame of mind.

"Winning early helps my confidence," she said.

Webb has always done well in the years she won at Royal Pines. From 1998 to 2001, when she won the Masters four times in a row, she had multiple wins on the LPGA Tour and was named player of the year twice.

"I was looking forward to the year even before this week," Webb said. "I know where my game is and hopefully I can take it back to the States."