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Webb aiming for fourth Masters win

World number one Karrie Webb, who won two Australian sports awards on Monday, will attempt to win the ANZ Ladies Masters for the fourth consecutive year when she tees-off tomorrow at
the Royal Pines Resort on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Webb heads a quality international line up for what is the opening event of the 2001 Evian Tour, and she hopes to add to her Female Athlete of the Year
and Dawn Fraser Sports Personality of the Year awards by securing her first title of the season here on Sunday.

Also in action over the 6,397 yard Royal Pines layout will be former world number one Laura Davies, winner of the ALPG Players Championship last
weekend, the European number one Sophie Gustafson of Sweden, Scotland's Catriona Matthew and Webb's compatriots Jane Crafter and Rachel Teske.

By her remarkable standards of last year, Webb appears to have had an
ordinary start to her 2001 campaign. But as she explained in her press
conference following today's pro-am she is more than happy with her form.

"I'm still number one on the US moneylist and I've been in contention in three of the five events this year so I'm fairly happy," said Webb, who won
seven times in America last year and once in Australia.

"It's a matter of putting yourself up there to win it on the Sunday and I've
managed to do that this season - but things just haven't quite gone my way.
"I've got a new caddie this year in Mike Paterson and things are right on track as far as I'm concerned. It's our first time together and it's good that we've been in contention a few times before the majors.

"But I'm feeling good, the Royal Pines is in great shape and I played some
good golf in the pro-am today. I can't say I ever really fire up in the pro-am since it's important to save your best for the tournament.

"But I feel good about it. I've got family and friends watching this week. I grew up on Bermuda greens and the ones here at Royal Pines are as good as they get."

In her past four winning appearances in the ANZ Ladies Masters Webb has been
a stunning 70 under par for 16 rounds. But the 26-year-old from Ayr was
reluctant to make any predictions for this week.

"I'm not very good at predicting the winning score but I think we should still see double digits again," added the world number one.

"They've pushed back the 18th and the 2nd and they've grown the rough in.

The rough's not long but it's harder to judge on the Bermuda grass. A lot will also depend on the wind."

As for her rivals, Webb said that she prefers not to focus on any one player and claims that any one who tees it up tomorrow has a chance of winning.

Davies, however, who will be playing with new Srixon clubs for the first time this week, was confident enough to predict that Webb will be in the running come Sunday afternoon.

"We know that she (Webb) is going to be in the top three with a few holes to go, so we've got to prepare ourselves for that," said Davies, back-to-back winner of this event in 1993 and 1994.

"Karrie's a great champion and if I had to lose to any one then I would prefer it to be her. But whoever wins on Sunday will have to play very well, looking at the field."

Renowned for her aversion to practise, Davies also surprised a few onlookers
earlier this week when she asked the way to the range. But, as she explained, it was because she had changed clubs from Maruman to Srixon and had not had the chance to try them out.

"I only received the clubs recently and I haven't had a chance to play with them so I thought it best to hit a few balls on the range," said a smiling Davies, a huge hit with the galleries in Queensland.

"So I spent five minutes on the range just trying them out, mainly the driver. Maruman, whose clubs I'd used for 14 years, ceased trading recently and so when Srixon approached me I went to chose some clubs from their factory in Osaka."

Davies also explained how she enjoyed coming to Australia, a feeling which is reciprocated every year by the generous galleries at Royal Pines.

Karrie Webb looking for her 4th straight ANZ Masters title. Allsport.

"I love coming to Oz, as you know," added Davies. "There's always lot's to do, the weather and the courses are first class, the people love their golf, and the Aussies always make me feel very welcome."

While most of the attention will naturally be focused on Webb and Davies, the lengthened layout should also suit Gustafson. The long-hitting Swede won twice on the LPGA in 2000 and has already added to that this season with a victory in the Subaru Memorial of Naples in January.

Gustafson also finished last season as number one on the Evian Tour after winning four times in Europe and finished off the year by playing a key role in Europe's thrilling Solheim Cup triumph over the Americans.

Matthew will also be looking to build on her maiden LPGA victory, which she
secured a fortnight ago, with another strong performance this week. The Scot
broke her duck after five years in America by winning Cup Noodles Hawaiian

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