Webb on course for first LPGA in '04

Updated: June 5, 2004, 9:30 PM ET
Associated Press

AURORA, Ill. -- Karrie Webb put herself in position for her first victory of the year Saturday, carding birdies on four of the final five holes for an 8-under 64 and a two-stroke lead in the Kellogg-Keebler Classic.

The Australian star rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 14 and added birdies on the final two holes for an 11-under 133 total. Jill McGill and Seol-An Jeon were tied for second.

Webb, a six-time major winner and two-time LPGA player of the year, has not lived up to her own high standards the last couple of years. She won just once on tour last year and finished out of the top 10 for the first time since joining the LPGA in 1996.

"I know I'm on the right track. I really believe that what I'm working on is going to give me a chance to play that kind of golf," she said. "If I don't win tomorrow, still, these are the two most solid rounds I've put together this year."

Webb wasn't the only big name on the leaderboard.

Five players were within four shots of the lead, including two-time defending champion Annika Sorenstam.

Sorenstam began the day five shots back of the leader but got off to a strong start with a birdie on the par-5 first.

On No. 1, her third shot sailed right and landed on the edge of the cart path. Sorenstam took a drop and chipped to 5 feet for an easy putt on a day when the greens were playing fast.

Sorenstam had seven birdies -- including four in a row on the back nine -- and got to 8 under before a costly three-putt for bogey on the 17th. She finished at 7 under.

"Obviously I feel a little bit better climbing up the leaderboard," Sorenstam said. "At least now I'm up there."

Playing from behind will be a new experience for the two-time defending champion. The Swede led after all three rounds in her first two victories here, winning by three strokes last year.

"I've come from behind before. Not at the this tournament, but it's something that I've been able to do," she said.

Jeong Jang (67) was three strokes back, and Audra Burks had a bogey-free 7-under 65 to move to four shots back.

McGill, a nine-year tour veteran who has never won, had a pair of eagles in a 67.

She entered the day two shots back and controlled her irons and sank enough puts to put herself in contention. She had birdies on Nos. 4 and 8 to go along with the pair of eagles.

McGill's best year on tour came in 2001, when she finished in the top 10 six times and tied for second at the Michelob Light Classic. Things haven't gone nearly as well since. She missed the cut in nine of 24 events in 2003 and her game tailed off noticeably.

"I'm trying to change my mentality of being out here and winning and really focusing on that," McGill said. "I'm tired of playing the way I have for the last 8 years. I need to learn how to (win) at some point. So this is it."

After a bogey on 15, McGill hit her second shot on the par-4 16th 115 yards to the front of the green. Her ball landed perfectly, hopped off the fringe and bounced twice before rolling right into the hole.

McGill didn't see the shot fall in. She did hear the cheers, though, and thrust both arms over her head and high-fived her caddie when she was certain it was good for her second eagle.

"I hit it a little bit thin and got a fortuitous bounce right toward the hole," she said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press