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Karrie Webb wins ANZ Ladies Masters for the sixth time

Australia 's Karrie Webb won her sixth ANZ Ladies Masters and her second title in as many weeks with a final round 68 at Royal Pines Resort on the Australian Gold Coast.

The 32-year-old from Ayr in Northern Queensland, who won the previous week's MFS Women's Australian Open at Royal Sydney, finished on a total of 19-under-par 269, two stokes ahead of 18-year-old Ji Yai Shin of South Korea .

America 's Cristie Kerr claimed third position on 16-under-par after a final round 68 while Sun Ju Ahn of South Korea , who led the tournament's first two rounds, had a 70 for fourth place on 14-under-par.

Ruby Tseng from Taiwan , who has just turned 18, had a final round 66 to take outright fifth position. Australia 's Michelle Ellis, the third round co-leader with Webb, had a final round 75 which included two double bogeys at the eighth and 13 holes. She finished in joint sixth place with Scotland 's Clare Queen on 12-under-par. Queen, who took the risk of travelling to Australia without a place in the tournament, entered as an alternate and her trip played off as she had a final round 68 for her career best finish in a professional tournament.

Webb, who won this event four times in a row from 1998-2001 and then again in 2005, became only the second player to win the same Ladies European Tour event six times after Sweden's Annika Sorenstam won the Swedish Open in 1997 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. (The tournament has been called the Compaq Open, HP Open and Scandinavian TPC Hosted by Annika over that period).

By winning both of Australia 's biggest women's golf tournaments in the same year, Webb repeated the same feat she accomplished in 2000, her most successful on the golf course. Her perfect start to the 2007 season suggests that she is back to her best form.

“I am probably playing as close to as well as I have ever played,” said Webb, after collecting her first prize for AUD$120,000 (€80,000).

“There is room for improvement. I am putting the ball really well. I have putted the ball really well for the last two weeks which is a good sign for me as I am not stressing too much about how many putts I am making and then generally I start to swing better.

“I didn't hit the ball for the last two weeks as well as I can but I am not making big errors with my swing so it's just a small refinement to continue to get better.

“I can't really rest on my laurels with this because as good a form as I am in its not being the best player in the world and I have to get to that stage.”

Webb added that she has the belief that she is playing well enough to become the World number one again.

“It's pretty close. If you do it (win) week in and week out that is probably the whole key to it,” she said.

“Obviously yesterday's round put me in good stead to win and I got off to a flying start today. I played a very strong front nine and did what I had to do on the back. It wasn't anything special but I did what I had to win.”

Webb stormed into the joint third round lead with Ellis after setting a course record 62 on Saturday. She came from seven shots behind the second round leader to take the joint lead entering the final round and began day four with a birdie at the first hole.

She added further birdies at holes four, five and seven on the front nine. After Ellis double bogeyed the eighth hole, Webb had a two stroke advantage. She then eagled the par-five ninth hole for an outward total of 31, six-under-par and had reached 21-under-par with a four stroke lead by the turn.

A run of three bogeys and one birdie on the back nine was good enough to seal the victory, although she missed short putts on 17 and 18.

At the par-three 10 th hole she was given a one stroke penalty for marking her ball when it was on the fringe, just off the green.

Webb heads to Hawaii next week in an attempt to win three tournaments in a row and all eyes will be on her when she tees off at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay on Oahu and indeed when she defends the first of five titles in 2007: the Kraft Nabisco Championship from March 29-April 1 st .

The Ladies European Tour season resumes with the Tenerife Ladies Open at Golf Del Sur, San Miguel de Abona, from May 3 rd -6 th 2007 and some of Europe 's top players are already looking forward to the start of the European season.

Becky Brewerton of Wales , who finished in a tie for eighth place with Jo Young Ran of South Korea, Italy 's Veronica Zorzi and Australia 's Rachel Hetherington in the ANZ Ladies Masters, was one such player.

She said: “After a great start to the season with the World Cup and two good finishes I just want to keep playing. I wish we were starting now!”




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