Webb to the fore as Davies threatens

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The Independent Online

Britain's Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas continued to head the British challenge, but Karrie Webb appeared unbeatable as she cruised to a four shot lead in the second round of the Nabisco Championship, the first major of the year, at Palm Springs in California today.

The Australian world number one, whose record this year is four wins and a second, led after a 67 in the first round, and three birdies at the first three holes in the second saw her edge four clear of holder, Dottie Pepper.

But while Webb had covered 27 holes without dropping a shot on a course with narrow fairways and destructive rough, Davies and Nicholas both reflected the general pattern with scores of 74. They finished on one over par 145, five behind the early clubhouse target set by Pepper, who tagged a 72 to her 68.

Nicholas, the 1997 US Open Champion, admitted she had missed her fair share of putts on the front nine.

"And then I started to struggle with the driver and that's fatal here," she said.

"As soon as you're off the fairway you're dead. The way Karrie is playing is just unbelievable."

Early second round scores

140 - D Pepper 68 72 141 - C Johnson 73 68 142 - L Kane (Can) 71 71 144 - P Hurst 72 72 145 - L Davies (Gbr) 71 74, T Barrett 73 72, K Tschetter 75 70, R jones 74 71, A Nicholas (Gbr) 71 74 146 - B Whitehead 70 76, J Moodie (GB) 74 72 147 - N Bowen 75 72 148 - N Scranton 78 70, D Coe-Jones (Can) 76 72, C Nilsmark (Swe) 77 71, B Mucha 77 71 149 - C Matthew (Gbr) 72 77 151 - E Dahloff (Swe) 78 73

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