That's two and counting for Tom Kite.

"Why not make it three in a row?" caddy Mike Carrick asked Sunday after Kite's second consecutive victory - and the biggest of his career - in the Players Championship at Ponte Verda, Fla.

Kite survived a knuckle-gnawing scare, when an aggressive shot flirted with the water, to nail down the annual championship of golf's touring pros, an ambitious event seeking a stature equal to that enjoyed by the game's Big Four tournaments.

Although a frequent contender, the veteran Kite has yet to win the Masters, U.S. or British Opens or the PGA. He quickly embraced the concept of the Players as a major.

"There's been so much talk about, `Tom Kite has done this and done that but he's never won a major,' so you're going to have a tough time convincing me that this isn't one," he said.

Yet he couldn't help looking ahead three weeks to the first major of the year, the Masters at Augusta, Ga.

"After this, you can't help but feel good about the Masters. I just wish it was tomorrow," he said.

Instead, he will travel to New Orleans and the USF&G Classic and the attempt to become the man to win three consecutive PGA Tour titles since Gary Player in 1978.

That shot at a little bit of Tour history was set up by his plauoff decision in the Nestle Championship two weeks ago and his one-stroke triumph on the wind-raked TPC course at Sawgrass.

***** Lori Garbacz captured her first career LPGA title in 11 years on tour, fighting off Martha Nause en route to a 4-stroke victory in the $300,000 LPGA Tucson Open on Sunday.

Garbacz and Nause were tied from the sixth through the 10th holes before Nause self-destructed, bogeying four straight holes.