WEBB shoots 65 on soggy day at Women's Open

Saturday, June 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SOUTHERN PINES, Northern Carolina (AP) _ Karrie Webb is in a familiar position _ on top at the U.S. Women's Open.

After a combined 13 victories on the LPGA Tour the last two years, including last year's Women's Open, Webb has yet to win on American soil in 2001.

But Webb got in a 5-under-par 65 Friday before heavy rain halted play at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club with 105 of 150 players left to finish the second round Saturday.

``One thing that I've been lacking this year is at certain moments, I haven't kept the roll going,'' said Webb, who shot a 70 in Thursday's first round. ``I haven't done the right thing.''

Webb did on this day.

She carded five birdies in her bogey-free round, saving pars with a 6-footer on No. 3 and a 10-footer on the 15th hole to match her career-low round in an Open.

Putting has been one of Webb's problems. She was ranked 26th on tour last year before falling to 49th this season. After 34 putts in her first round at the Open, she was down to 26 Friday as she charged up the leader board.

``Even if I had made a couple of bogeys and shot 67, I would have been really happy,'' Webb said. ``But the fact that I made those par putts to keep the momentum going in the right direction, that's what I feel really good about.''

Webb's best birdie came on No. 2 when she chipped in from 70 feet (21 meters).

Webb has won three of the last six majors and is trying to become the seventh woman to make a successful defense in the U.S. Open.

More than 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain pounded Pine Needles in two hours. After the third stoppage in play, the second round was suspended. Thirty players had not teed off before storms hit.

The course, in the North Carolina Sandhills, drained well and was in near perfect shape as players teed off at 7 a.m. (1100 GMT) Saturday.

One player who got in a few holes was Annika Sorenstam, a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour this season and the winner here in 1996.

But the best women's player in the world bogeyed her second hole to fall to 1 over, six shots behind Webb.

Webb was at 5-under 135 and held a two-stroke lead over first-round leaders A.J. Eathorne of Canada, who made par on her first four holes before the rains came, and Cindy Figg-Currier, who didn't get a chance to tee off.

Only two other players were under par _ Mi Hyun Kim at 2 under through four holes, and Se Ri Pak at 1 under after pars on her first two holes.

Morgan Pressel, who at 13 became the youngest qualifier in Women's Open history, made it to the weekend _ but only because she couldn't finish her final two holes.

She ended Saturday morning with a second straight 7-over 77, sinking a 15-footer on her last hole to save par. Pressel then headed to Kentucky for a junior tournament that begins Monday.

``I didn't want to finish with a bogey, so finishing with a par is always nice,'' said Pressel, who posed for photos with 13-year-old standard bearer Dustin Adams after her round. ``I was happy. I had six pars in the last six holes.''