May 3, 2006

Webster hopes Ballesteros will tip the balance

By Norman Dabell

MILAN (Reuters) - Briton Steve Webster hopes tips from Seve
Ballesteros will help him claim back-to-back Italian Open

Webster took 10 years to realize the potential he showed
when winning the 1995 silver medal as best amateur in the
British Open and then the European Tour qualifying school of
that year.

His victory last year at the Tolcinasco course near Milan
finally earned him a European Tour title and the 31-year-old is
now keen to double up on his 'Italian job'.

Five times major champion Ballesteros, despite suffering an
ailing swing himself, could provide Webster's key to winning
this week, the Briton said on Wednesday.

"I've had a load of practice rounds with Seve since meeting
him when we played together in South Africa a few years ago and
I practiced with him last week before the Spanish Open and
picked his brains," said Webster, 54th on Europe's money list.

"He has just given me a bit of confidence with my short
game. He showed me a few techniques which will help because he
is probably still one of the best in the world when it comes to
the short game.

"He told me last week about one of his British Open wins
when he was in 15 bunkers and got up and down out of 14 of

Ballesteros also gave Webster a sharp reminder.

"He told me I should be doing a lot better in my career,
which I totally agree with."

Webster's chief rival could be the highest-ranked player in
the tournament, Argentina's Angel Cabrera, the world number 25.

Cabrera is tuning up before defending his BMW Championship
title this month at Wentworth, England. Two veterans are in the
field - European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam, 48, and Sam
Torrance, 52, twice an Italian Open winner.