Webb crafts nice return

2 early victories has her back among favorites

March 31, 2011

It has been five years now since Karrie Webb provided one of the most spectacular finishes in Kraft Nabisco Championship annals, holing a wedge from 116 yards for an eagle that set up a playoff victory over Lorena Ochoa.

Annika Sorenstam was still the LPGA's dominant player then, replaced a year later by Ochoa. Now both are no longer active players; Webb remains.

And after two early-season victories, the Australian once again finds herself among the favorites in the season's first major.

"I have as good a chance as any," Webb told reporters after a practice round at Mission Hills CC. "This is probably the best I've felt about things coming into this tournament for quite a few years."

The 2006 Kraft crown was the first in a five-victory year for Webb, but things dried up quickly with just one from 2007-10. Now the pattern has reversed with trophies in Singapore and the Founders Cup.

The difference: A clearer head.

"I know how good I can be," she said. "It's just a matter of … getting out of my own way and letting it happen. I'm trying not to overcrowd my thoughts with those sort of goals that really are only achievable if you play well."

Double-duty Nantz: CBS Sports host Jim Nantz will serve as presenter for both mentor Frank Chirkinian and former President George H.W. Bush during the World Golf Hall of Fame's enshrinement ceremony May 9.

Chirkinian, the CBS producer known as the "Father of Televised Golf," took Nantz under his wing when the announcer joined the network's coverage in 1985. Nantz also is a close friend of the Bush family and was asked to serve as its representative.

Both new enshrinees will accept induction in prerecorded video addresses. Chirkinian's was recorded days before his death March 4.

Ernie Els will be introduced by South African businessman Johann Rupert, a longtime sponsor and now chairman of the Sunshine Tour. Doug Ford chose friend and 1968 Masters champion Bob Goalby as his presenter. Jumbo Ozaki and the late Jock Hutchison will be celebrated with video tributes.

Tap-ins: Martin Laird's victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was the 300th by a Nationwide Tour graduate with 124 players total having contributed. … Wednesday marked 500 days since Tiger Woods' last victory at the 2009 Australian Masters.

— Jeff Shain

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