The question on everyone lips is: “Can she do it again, for an incredible eighth time?” Yes, they are talking about Karrie Webb (OAM,) arguably Australia’s best ever golfer. The Queenslander has won the Ladies Masters an amazing seven times and will be gunning for number eight when the ANZ RACV Ladies Masters gets under way at the RAVC Royal Pines Resort this Thursday.
When asked if it will be title number eight the World Golf Hall of Fame member responded, “I hope so, it’s always a great feeling to come back here, it’s an even better feeling when I am defending champion, I would love to be up there in the mix on Sunday, so will see what happens.”
Is there any reason why it shouldn’t be, she replied “No, I don’t think so; I think hopefully the great memories I have around this golf course and the good feel I seem to have every time I tee up here, hopefully with the hard work I did this morning those things will iron out pretty quickly, just because I think I have a little bit more confidence.”
ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open champion Yani Tseng will be one of Webb’s biggest threats this week. Tseng is full of confidence heading into the week and was buoyed to learn that with her Open win she has moved to No.2 in the Rolex Women’s Golf Rankings.
A win this week could see her achieve one of her ultimate goal, to be World No.1. When asked about that at a press conference, she responded: “It would be a dream come true. When I was 12 my dreams were to be world number one and I know it was very, very far away. But now I am sitting here and I have a chance to get to be work number one, it feels it means a lot.”
Putting is the key to winning this week said the LPGA’s 2010 Rolex Player of the Year, “This week is more of a putting competition. The putting is very important.”
An array of talent from all corners of the globe will be on show, players from Australia, America, Europe, Taiwan, Japan and Korea will tee it up and will be looking to dethrone the queen of Royal Pines, Webb.
LET players to watch this week include England’s Melisa Reid who finished runner-up to Tseng last week at the Open, European No.1 in 2010 South African Lee-Anne Pace and three-time winner of this event England’s Laura Davies.
A strong American contingent is also at Royal Pines including Angela Stanford, Stacy Lewis, Amanda Blumenherst and teenage sensation 15-year old Alexis Thompson.
Thompson, who turns 16 on Thursday, is making her first appearance at the ANZ RACV Ladies Masters. The 15 year old turned pro at the tender age of 14 is not a member of any tour but instead plays at various tournaments around the world on sponsor invites. She is a phenomenal talent: in her 7 starts on the LPGA tour in 2010 her best finish was runner-up at the Evian Masters in France, whilst she also finished tied 10th at the US Women’s Open in July. The American won over US$330,000 in prize money.
Hull will lead the Australian contingent, confident she can regain the title she almost defended in 2010. The Sunshine Coaster is coming off her most successful year on the LPGA where she captured her second LPGA title, the Navistar LPGA Classic and finished runner up at the RICOH Women’s British Open. Nikki Campbell, Kristie Smith, Frances Bondad and Tamie Durdin are all likely challengers. All will be vying to keep the title in Australian hands.
A total of 144 players will tee it up at the magnificent RACV Royal Pines Resort, all gunning for their share of the AUD $500,000 purse.