Karrie Webb. Photo: Getty
World Golf and LPGA Hall of Fame member Karrie Webb got off to a solid start in Singapore this week and shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Webb leads No. 11 Paula Creamer and No. 22 Caroline Hedwall by one shot.
The Australian got off to a torrid start picking up four of her six birdies in the first six holes.
“Yeah, definitely set the tone and I think for me, anyway, on this course, I find it quite tricky to trust where you've got to hit it off the tee, and it leaves some challenging iron shots in from some long distances out on the par 4s,” said Webb. “For me, getting off to a good start really allowed me to settle in and trust my game plan for the rest of the day.”
Webb, who already has a win this season at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open, said she loves returning to Singapore not only for the golf. The 39-year old won this event in 2011 when it was held across town at Tenah Merah Country Club.
“Yeah, it is a different situation, but I've always enjoyed coming to Singapore,” said Webb. “I think it's a great city and I'm a bit of a foodie, so I love going and trying all different foods this week. So I do enjoy it here. And it's nice, too, because there's a lot of Aussies in Singapore. So I always have quite a big following out there which is fun.”
Two-time European Solheim Cup Team member Caroline Hedwall was the early leader in the clubhouse after turning in a 5-under 67. She used a 25-foot and 36-foot putts and a string of three-consecutive birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 16 to push her up the leaderboard.
“On and off I was on the leaderboards, I saw that I was still up there so I just had to stay patient, which I did, and it was just nice to get up there and get the three birdies in a row,” said Hedwall. “Then it was just a solid good start, and then I'm happy with that and hopefully I can keep that momentum for the rest of the week.”
Creamer followed Hedwall into the clubhouse at 5-under as well and said the windy conditions at Sentosa Country Club suits her game well. Creamer is trying to snap a winless streak that dates back to the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open. She had a third place finish in Singapore last season.
“I played well,” said Creamer. “I didn't hit the ball that great on the back side, but made some birdies, and you know, I really enjoy this golf course. It just fits my game really well and I love how it's playing really windy, makes it just so much tougher. You have to really think a lot out here and that kind of has always been Colin, my caddie and I's strong suit. It does, it matches well. Having a good tournament here last year is always nice coming into it, and you feel good, you feel good about the golf course.”
World No. 1 Inbee Park shot a 2-under 70 while No. 2 Suzann Pettersen is tied for 12th after a 1-under 71.
“I think my strategy today going into the greens was really good, so I'm not going to change my ball striking plan,” said Park. “I'm just going to try to read the greens a little bit more carefully. They seem to not have much break.”
Defending champ and No. 3 Stacy Lewis struggled in her opening round after carding a 3-over 75. The top-ranked American is nine shots off the lead.