Karrie Webb has mixed feelings heading into the fourth major, the Wegmans LPGA Championship, being played for the first time at the Monroe Golf Club in Rochester, New York.
This is the 60th edition of the LPGA Championship, which isthe second-longest running event on the schedule. However it is the last time the championship will be known as the LPGA Championship as it is getting a new name, two big partners and more exposure through network television.
From 2015 the LPGA Tour and PGA of America have become partners in the Women's PGA Championship. It will be the first women's major run by the PGA of America and will be played at Westchester Country Club in New York. The major sponsor will be KPMG and the purse will increase to U$3.5 million and move around the country.
Webb spoke about the fond memories she has had in this event, having won twice at Locust Hills when it wasn’t a major.
“Obviously I've won at Locust Hill a couple of times. For me my first impression here, in the Rochester area, the first year I played was obviously the fan base and the crowds. I don't think we have a more loyal fan base out there, and even playing this week a lot of the people are saying that they're sad to see us leave, and obviously we are, too.”
“I just find it hard to believe that we could have such a great relationship with the community as we do here in Rochester that we won't be back here at some point. I really believe that, you know, the love affair between us and Rochester community could continue. I think there would be interest to that.”
“The Rochester community has given us a lot over the years, but I feel like we've given back a lot by the entertainment we've provided but also the charity money that we've raised for the local community. So hopefully it's good-bye for now, but hopefully we'll be back.”
When asked about the course, the seven time major champion was very impressed and identified the second shot as key this week,
“I actually think this is one of the best courses I've played in a long time. It's very true Donald Ross grain complexes, and it is a second-shot course, and with the rough around the greens this week, you know, trying to hit as many greens as possible will be key. There's ample room off the tee, which is completely opposite to Locust Hill.”
Webb is joined is the field of 150 players by fellow compatriots Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith, Lindsey Wright, Stacey Keating, Sarah Kemp and Julia Boland.
Kirk has been showing signs of getting back to the form that has seen her capture two LPGA titles. If she can put four good rounds together, she may well be in the mix come Sunday.
Kemp is the first out at 7.26am on Thursday morning, follow by Webb at 8.32am. Webb is playing in one of the feature groups with American Lexi Thompson and South Korean Inbee Park. All the remaining Aussies are off in the afternoon wave.
Keating is gets her campaign underway at 12.36pm with Wright in the group behind. Kirk tees off at 1.32pm, while Boland is off at 2.05pm. Smith is the final Australian out, the Queenslander tees off at 2.16pm.
In 2013, Inbee Park held off a surging Catriona Matthew, sinking an 18-foot birdie putt on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff at the Wegmans LPGA Championship to capture her seventh-career victory and third major championship
This is the 38th time Rochester has hosted the LPGA and fifth time the city has been home to the LPGA Championship. For the first time, Monroe Golf Club - a historic Donald Ross layout - will provide the type of championship test reserved for a major championship.
The Wegmans LPGA Championship has a Who’s Who of women’s golf winner’s list, including Current Rolex World No.1 Stacy Lewis, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and American Paula Creamer and should provide another exciting championship.
The championship is being shown live on Fox Sports starting on Friday morning Australian time.