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Webb aiming to end slump

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Karrie Webb is in territory she used to take for granted: in contention at a major on the LPGA Tour. She relishes the feeling like never before.

"I still get really excited for the majors and the importance they have on everyone's career," Webb said Saturday after shooting 4-under 68 to move within one shot of the lead after the third round of the LPGA Championship. "I probably want it more than I ever have in my career."

Webb, who counts seven majors among her 38 career wins, hasn't won since beating Lorena Ochoa in a one-hole sudden-death playoff in 2006 for her second Kraft Nabisco Championship title. Here, the Australian star is chasing Eun-Hee Ji, who is at 4-under 212 heading into today's final round.

Webb had four bogeys en route to 2-over 74 in the opening round. The Australian has come back into contention with two straight rounds under par, though Friday's 71 was punctuated by five birdies and four bogeys. She had five more birdies Saturday and only one bogey — at the first hole — to match Ji for the lowest round over the first three days.

"I think my patience level has really been quite good, for me," said Webb, whose best finish in 10 tournaments this year is a tie for fourth at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in late April. "On Thursday, I started feeling sorry for myself. The fact that I overcame that early trouble really reinforced that. The stakes will be a lot higher (today), but I've done a good job so far."

Ji, coming off her first top-10 in more than two years, was solid again off the tee on the unforgiving Locust Hill Country Club course, hitting 11 of 14 fairways and reaching 11 of 14 greens in regulation. That gave her an impressive total of 39 GIRs in 54 holes.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot a second straight 73 and is tied for 41st at 6-over 222.

PGA: Davis Love thinks he's playing as well as he did earlier this year before pulling a rib muscle at Bay Hill. Now the U.S. Ryder Cup captain is eager to see just how much he might do.

Love shot his third straight 2-under 68 to join Nick O'Hern and John Merrick atop the leaderboard at 6-under 204 at the windy St. Jude Classic in Memphis. Asked what his first tour win since 2008 would mean, Love, 48, had a quick answer.

"Be a lot of Ryder Cup points," Love said.

With a win, Love is projected to jump from 63 into the top 30 in the Ryder Cup standings. Love started off this year excited about how he was playing before injuries slowed him down.

CHAMPIONS: Defending champion Tom Lehman shot 4-under 68 to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, Ala. Lehman was at 10-under 206 in the tour major. Peter Senior, a playoff loser to Lehman last year, and Jeff Sluman were tied for second.

PGA EUROPE: Lee Westwood completed his warmup for the U.S. Open by winning the Nordea Masters in Bro, Sweden, by five shots. Westwood's final-round 3-under 69 gave him a total of 19-under 269. Fellow Englishman Ross Fisher finished second with three late birdies for a 71.

. fast facts

112th U.S. Open

When/where: Thursday-Sunday; Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco

Course: Par 70, 7,170 yards

Field: 156 players

Purse: TBA ($8 million 2011)

Cut: Top 60 and ties and anyone within 10 strokes of the lead after 36 holes

Defending champ: Rory McIlroy

TV: Thursday-Friday, noon, ESPN; 3 p.m., Ch. 8; 5 p.m., ESPN Saturday-Sunday, 4 p.m., Ch. 8

. fast facts

112th U.S. Open

When/Where: Thursday-Sunday; The Olympic Club (Lake Course), San Francisco.

Course: Par 70, 7,170 yards.

Field: 156 players.

Purse: TBA ($8 million in 2011).

Cut: Top 60 and ties and anyone within 10 strokes of the lead after 36 holes.

Defending champ: Rory McIlroy

Television: Thursday-Friday, noon, ESPN; 3 p.m., Ch. 8; 5 p.m., ESPN. Saturday-Sunday, 4 p.m., Ch. 8.

Notables in the field: Darron Stiles (Gulf High School), Brooks Koepka (Florida State), Casey Martin, Michael Allen (Encompass Insurance Pro Am champ).

Webb aiming to end slump 06/09/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 9, 2012 10:18pm]
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