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Webb Vindicated, Retakes Lead in Ping Welch’s Championship

August 11, 1996

CANTON, Mass. (AP) _ When Karrie Webb approached the 18th green Saturday, many thought of her breakdown there the previous day, a four-putt that cost her the lead in the Ping Welch’s Championship.

Webb wasn’t among them.

``I wasn’t even thinking about that,″ she said. Told that everyone else was, the 21-year-old Australian gestured across the interview room and said, ``That’s why I’m sitting here.″

Forgetting about Friday’s collapse on No. 18, Webb birdied the last three holes Saturday to shoot a 4-under-par 68, improve to 10-under and take a two-stroke lead into the final round.

Emilee Klein, who started the day at minus-4 and bogeyed the first hole, eagled No. 18 to shoot 68 and bring her three-round total to 8-under.

Four players were at 7-under in the chase for the $75,000 winner’s check over the 6,173-yard Blue Hills Country Club course.

Webb’s lead would be even bigger if not for her collapse on the 18th on Friday, an outcome all the more disappointing because she had a 40-foot chance for eagle.

The resulting bogey helped drop her to 1-over for the day and into second place behind Janet Anderson, who followed a first-round 67 with a 70 to take a one-stroke lead at 7-under.

But Anderson collapsed Saturday, double bogeying each of the last two holes to drop from 7-under to 3-under.

Klein got to the tee on the 469-yard 18th at 6-under and left her 4-wood second shot 40 yards from the hole. Her chip shot bounced once, hit the stick and dropped into the hole.

``I haven’t had an eagle like that in a long time,″ said Klein, who got one last week by making a 3-foot putt. ``I guess an eagle is an eagle; it doesn’t matter how it goes in the hole. But this one was just more exciting.″

But Webb wasn’t finished.

After moving to 9-under with three birdies on the front nine, she bogeyed Nos. 10 and 15. But Webb finished with three consecutive birdies to cement her hold on the lead.

On the 18th, she put her second shot 40 yards from the hole with a 4-iron, then chipped to about a foot for birdie. Asked if it was a relief to have a relatively easy putt this time, she had to be reminded of Friday’s problems.

``I just wiped it out of my mind,″ she said.

Webb won the British Open last year while playing on the European tour. She joined the LPGA this season and earning two seconds and a first in her first three tournaments _ a string of six consecutive top 10 finishes _ while moving to second on the money list.

Although she stumbled after winning in Daytona Beach in April, she finished sixth in St. Louis two weeks ago and survived a weekend collapse to finish second in the du Maurier Classic last week in Edmonton, Alberta.

``The run sort of stopped there for four or five weeks,″ she said. ``I just feel really comfortable out there again.″

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