Golf: Davies is denied by brilliance of Webb

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AUSTRALIA'S Karrie Webb captured the first major championship of her career yesterday, scoring birdies at four of the final five holes, including the 18th, for a surprise two-stroke victory over Britain's Laura Davies at the du Maurier Classic in Alberta, Calgary.

Webb, the 1996 LPGA Rookie of the Year, fired a second-successive six- under-par round of 66 to win with a total score of 11 under par. She capped the day with a five-foot birdie putt after chipping from the rough beyond the 18th green.

Davies edged Webb for the 1996 Player of the Year honours and had initially looked set to come out ahead in this contest too. On nine-under-par, Davies, also the winner of this event in 1996, had started the day two shots ahead. She immediately began by holing a 12-foot birdie putt and then appeared to consolidate her position by covering the front nine in a one-under par 35 shots.

On 10 under par, she had moved three shots ahead of Webb before the Australian began to claw her way back into contention.

Webb drew the scores level before a spectacular birdie from Davies at the 16th hole, hitting from the rough within four feet of the cup, returned the advantage to the Englishwoman. But immediately she gave the stroke back by pulling a four-foot par putt left of the hole at the 17th hole.

After surging into contention with three straight birdies, Webb took advantage of Davies' lapse with another at the par-five 18th hole.

Davies had a chance to salvage a play-off, but sent her approach into the deep rough to the right of the hole at the 18th. She chipped past the hole and on to the left fringe and two-putted for a bogey. By then Webb was already beginning the celebrations with her caddie.

Results, Digest, page 9