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Webb finishes strong at Skins; Sorenstam second

1/26/2003

WAILEA, Hawaii -- Karrie Webb beat Annika Sorenstam and won
the LPGA Skins Game on Sunday, taking 12 skins worth a record
$470,000.

Webb captured the final 10 skins in recording her first victory
in three Skins Game appearances. She earlier picked up two skins
worth $50,000 by making an 8-foot birdie putt on the 518-yard No.
7.

On an 80-degree day with barely any wind at Wailea Golf Club,
Webb broke Laura Davies' record of $340,000 set in 1996.

The Aussie sealed the victory on the par-3 No. 16 by sinking a
12-foot putt that gave her four skins worth $160,000.

Sorenstam, the 2002 player of the year, finished second with
three skins for $70,000. Laura Diaz made $60,000 for her three
skins and Davies, the defending champion, was shut out.

The group played three extra holes for the No. 18 skin worth
$100,000. Webb took the big-money playoff skin with a 3-foot putt
on the par-4 17th.

The event marked the return of the LPGA Skins Game, which was
last played in 1998. Davies won with 10 skins worth $270,000 that
year and Webb finished second.

Sorenstam, who won 11 tour events last year, had the lead with a
birdie on the 140-yard eighth. Her 9-iron tee shot left her with a
5-foot putt for a skin worth $30,000. She led at the turn with
$70,000, followed by Diaz's $60,000 and Webb's $50,000.

Webb, a two-time tour winner last year, took a $100,000
advantage over Sorenstam after sinking an 18-foot birdie putt from
the fringe on No. 12 with $120,000 and four skins on the line.
Sorenstam missed an 8-footer that would've halved the hole.

Diaz got off to a quick start, collecting three skins worth
$60,000 on the first five holes, but she couldn't maintain the
momentum throughout the round.

Davies struggled with her tee shots, giving her few
opportunities for easy birdies. The Briton didn't finish Nos. 4 and
15 after driving into the trees and No. 14 when her approach found
the water.

The made-for-TV atmosphere featured friendly banter between the
players, mixed with a little trash talking during the early holes.

''I'm getting harassed like I was a rookie,'' sad the
27-year-old Diaz, the youngest of the foursome and a Skins Game
first-timer.

Even Sorenstam, the world's top female golfer, got ribbed a
little. Davies, trying to rattle Sorenstam on a short birdie putt
on No. 5, urged her to miss saying, ''She doesn't need the money.''

''My charity does,'' Sorenstam replied before sinking the putt,
which gave her a skin worth $30,000. Ten percent of the player's
winnings goes to charity.

The quartet in this year's game have won a combined 147 LPGA
Tour events, including 14 majors and $26.8 million. They also have
accounted for the last eight player of the year awards.

The event won't be televised until July 1-2. ... ConAgra
Foods Inc. helped bring the tournament back with its sponsorship.
... The crowd of 2,000 thinned on the back nine as spectators left
to watch the Super Bowl.