Australian veteran Karrie Webb survived some palpitations over her scorecard as she shot a fine six-under 66 to seize a one-stroke lead at the star-studded HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore yesterday.
Webb, disqualified from this month’s Australian Ladies Masters for signing for an incorrect score, emerged from the scorer’s tent, but then hurried straight back inside, fearing she had forgotten to sign her card.
However, all was well and the 39-year-old had correctly signed for a first round of six birdies and no bogeys, enough for a one-shot lead over Caroline Hedwall and Paula Creamer, while Taiwan’s Teresa Lu and Angela Stanford of the US were a further shot back after carding 68s.
“I just had trouble getting out of the scorer tent since then,” Webb said, referring to the incident when she owned up to signing for a 74 instead of a 75. “So I walked out and couldn’t remember if I signed my card, which would have been too late anyway, but before I did an interview and said how happy I was to shoot 66, I wanted to make sure I had signed my card.”
Webb made a flying start of four birdies on the first six holes, extending a rich run of form which includes her charge to victory at the Women’s Australian Open.
In hot and windy conditions on the demanding, par-72 Sentosa Golf Club course, the 2011 champion picked up two more shots on 14 and 16 to seize an early advantage over the high-quality field.
“I think it’s a tricky golf course. I think getting off to the start I did makes you settle down a bit,” said Webb, who went round with fellow former winners Shin Ji-yai and Stacy Lewis, the defending champion. “My other playing partners struggled to start with and I think this course is one of those courses where if you get on the wrong side of trusting your numbers and positions off the tee, it’s a challenging golf course.”
World No. 1 Inbee Park shot 70, one better than second-ranked Suzann Pettersen, who can potentially overhaul the South Korean at the top of the player ratings this week.
New Zealand sensation Lydia Ko, former world No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan and Michelle Wie of the US all started the tournament quietly with one-over rounds of 73.
Taiwan’s Candie Kung was a shot further back after carding a two-over 74.
Additional reporting by staff writer