Can Webb make it five Australian Opens?
BY Bruce Young | LPGA Tour | 2013 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open | Preview | 13 Feb 2013
Karrie Webb tees it up at Royal Canberra this week chasing her fifth Australian Women’s Open title .
As is the case with Australia’s other significant women’s event, The Volvik RACV Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast, Webb has been the dominant force during many of the years the Australian Women’s Open has been staged, winning in 2000,2002, 2007 and 2008.
Today she faced the media to discuss her chances of winning again just two weeks after taking out her eighth Volvik RACV Ladies Masters and other issues about the game generally.
This is Webb’s second visit to Royal Canberra having first played layout as a 14 year old in 1989. She played then for the Queensland side but for a young girl from Ayr in Queensland it was quite an experience especially given the event was played in the winter that year.
“It was the Australian School Girls’ Championship, so it was really my first big tournament that I played in really outside of the Australian Junior, but I just never really played this sort of golf course before.
I just remember the greens being a lot faster than the Ayr Golf Club greens and we were here I think in August so it was freezing cold. It was also during the Australian pilots’ strike, so I bussed it down here after an army cargo plane flew us down from Townsville. I didn’t remember much about the course. I thought I might remember a hole or two but I didn’t remember any of it."
So what does she think of the golf course now?
Yeah I love that part of it," said Webb when referring to the fact that shots have to be shaped around this layout. "You definitely have to move it both ways off the tee. I think that will really come into play if these fairways dry out.
“Right now they’re a bit soft. I was quite surprised, I knew how hot it had been here and I think they’ve poured the water on so they haven’t lost the fairways. But if the fairways firm up then you really are going to have to shape it off the tee to keep it in the fairway. Then the rough isn’t over long, but if the course firms up for the week and the greens start getting a bit firmer too, you still want to be in the fairway for sure.”
Webb’s four victories in this event are all precious to her but there is one that stands out more than the others and that came in 2008 when she rallied from behind to defeat Jiyai Shin at Kingston Heath.
“I’d probably say the one that sticks out the most is the one at Kingston Heath. I was two behind with three to play and yeah, I think I was almost in the clubhouse at that stage. I birdied 16 and 17 and then had a good birdie chance on 18 and just missed that to actually win and then won in the play off.
“When I got to the 15th green I actually thought I was playing that well that day that I would at least be tied for the lead, so I was very shocked to see that I was still two shots behind.
“I just remember how I handled that and it wasn’t that I had to press, just hit good shots and see what happens, and that’s what happened. I made a couple of birdies and then ended up winning. Then to win at Kingston Heath is pretty special as well.”
So how does she feel the course will play this week?
“Because I haven’t played a tournament here anyway, I don’t really know how it’s going to play. In my mind before I got here I thought it was going to be hard and fast and running. So it’s been quite an adjustment to see it quite soft. If we don’t get any rain, I know that the fairways will be running and the greens will be blue, so that will be the adjustment through the week, just adjusting with the conditions, the course conditions.
“I think the front 9 is going to be the 9 that you make most of your score on. I think there are three par 5s in the first six holes and two of them are quite reachable now, let alone with a little bit of run out there.
So that’s where you make most of your score and then the back 9, there are some quality par 4s out there, that I’ll be happy to make pars on. If I do any better than that I know I’ll be in for a good week."
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