Date: July 27, 2007

Webb trails lead by four shots

Australian Karrie Webb has fired an opening round of 70 to sit just four shots from the lead at the Evian Masters. Americans Pat Hurst and Brittany Lincicome plus a little-known South Korean, Eun-Hee Ji, all had eagles in rounds of 66 to share the lead on six-under-par. Another two Koreans, Kyeong Bae and Jin-Joo Hong and the US Solheim Cup player Christina Kim were all a shot behind on 67. Webb is the best placed Australian, currently tied for 11th place, after firing a two-under-par round of 70, while compatriot Rachel Hetherington was a shot further adrift after a 71. Laura Davies, the two-time former winner, was the best of the British players on 71, the highlight of her round being a birdie, eagle finale. She holed from 20 feet at the par-three 17th and went one better by bolting one home from 45ft for the three at the par-five 18th. “It was a strange old day,” said the 43-year-old who had another three birdies and five bogeys. “There has been a lot of rain and the greens were a little bumpy. Having said that, I couldn&apost have asked for a better finish.” Michelle Wie, the 17-year-old who has struggled all season with a wrist injury, showed glimpses of the form which saw her finish second at Evian for the past two years. She birdied the sixth and seventh and the only real blunder in a 73 was an out-of-bounds shot and a double-bogey at the par-four 12th. “It was much better today and I can take a lot of positives out of this round,” said the American teenager, who has not played since pulling out after 27 holes (she was 17 over par) of the US Women&aposs Open four weeks ago with a recurrence of a wrist injury. “I had one bad shot, and the wrist was a little sore hitting out of the rough. But I feel I&aposm on the road to regaining more control. The wrist is getting stronger and I&aposm growing in confidence.” Hurst is a five-time winner in America and made her score with a brilliant back nine of 31 which ended with a four-iron second shot to 10 feet for an eagle at the 18th, while playing partner Ji holed a nine-iron shot for her eagle at the par-four fourth. Lincicome, 21, is heading for a US Solheim Cup debut at Halmstad, and she made her eagle at the long ninth. In fact, it was almost her first albatross as her four iron second shot finished inches from the hole. First Round of the Evian Masters (par 72) -6 Pat Hurst 66, Eun-Hee Ji 66, Brittany Lincicome 66 -5 Kyeong Bae 67, Christina Kim 67, Jin Joo Hong 67 -3 Diana D&aposAlessio 69, Sophie Gustafson 69, Linda Wessberg 69, Sun Ju Ahn 69 Also: -2 Karrie Webb (Australia) 70 -1 Rachel Hetherington (Australia) 71