Date: June 05, 2008

Webb finding Major form

The second major championship for 2008, the McDonald s LPGA Championship, starts on Thursday at the Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre De Grace Maryland, the fourth consecutive year the event has been played at the Pete Dye designed layout. The tournament was first played at this venue in 2005 and measuring over 6600 yards for this week&aposs event, one of the longer courses the LPGA Tour plays all year. Defending champion Suzann Pettersen recently summed up her thoughts on Bulle Rock and what it takes to succeed there. “Bulle Rock is all about hitting fairways. If you hit fairways, you&aposre in a position to hit aggressive shots into the green. That was my strategy last year, not trying to reach anything off the tee but just trying to get the accuracy. On some of the par fives, I tried to take advantage. You&aposve got to play smart but you can be aggressive where there&aposs room to be aggressive.” Pettersen began a run at this event that would see her win four further times on the LPGA Tour in 2007 and the Norwegian arrives at this event in 2008 building towards her best form once again. She won in Switzerland two weeks ago and at last week s Ginn Tribute in South Carolina finished 9th, giving every indication that she is well placed to successfully defend what was not only her first major championship victory but her first LPGA Tour win. In order for Pettersen to do so, she will need to outgun the World No.1 and six-time LPGA Tour winner in 2008, Lorena Ochoa, and previous winner on this golf course and 10-time major champion, Annika Sorenstam, to name but a few. Ochoa took last week off to be with her family but she is sure to be very much in the thick of things as the tournament draws to a climax on Sunday. Perhaps unfairly treated when fined for not competing at the Corning Classic due to a workload accentuated by her success, Ochoa will attempt to become only the third woman to win three consecutive major championships. Ochoa won the Weetabix Women’s British Open at St Andrews last year and then backed up with a win at the Kraft Nabisco Championship two months ago. Sorenstam struggled a little last week at the Ginn Tribute event she hosted but as a three-time winner in season 2008 and a previous winner on this golf course her credentials need little scrutiny. Karrie Webb has been runner-up at this venue in each of the past two seasons and following her encouraging return to form, more especially on the greens, at last week s Ginn Tribute, she will have renewed confidence in her ability to challenge once again at Bulle Rock. Webb was beaten by Se Ri Pak in a playoff two years ago and last year finished one behind Pettersen. Webb said early today from the course, “Obviously coming off last week&aposs good result gives me a lot of confidence and momentum coming into this week. I&aposm swinging it well and I just need those putts to drop like they did for the first couple of rounds last week.” Webb also said, “I have great memories of playing well here over the last couple of years, so I am looking forward to the week.” Of course the chances do not stop there with the likes of two time 2008 winner, Paula Creamer, the improving Cristie Kerr and a host of Korea&aposs best all ready to challenge for the title. Kerr&aposs final round of 67 at the Ginn Tribute was eye-catching for those who fancy her chances in this week&aposs event. Previous winner of this event, Se Ri Pak, a noted big event player, has claims after her better week last week in South Carolina, while two of the game&aposs most exciting rookies, Yani Tseng and Na Yeon Choi, could do well despite their relative inexperience at this level. The field includes other Australians, Lindsey Wright, Rachel Hetherington, Katherine Hull, Wendy Doolan, Michelle Ellis, Sarah Kemp and Anna Rawson. Queenslander Sarah-Jane Kenyon anxiously awaits a start as second alternate on the list of those hoping for a last minute inclusion in the field. Wright produced something very special in this event last year when a brilliant final round of 6-under 66 saw her finish fourth. If anything, Wright is playing even better in 2008, making the cut in every event this season and recording her best ever LPGA Tour finish numerically at least – when third at the Fields Open in February. Wright said today “I&aposm really excited to be back at Bulle Rock. I had such a great time last year that I can t wait to tee it up again on Thursday. I played the course today and it is in fantastic condition. The key this week for me is to stay patient, hit fairways and greens.” The tournament has prizemoney of US$2,000,000. All four rounds of the McDonald&aposs LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola will be broadcast on Fox Sports commencing Friday morning (AEST).