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 Womenâ€™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.
â€œYeah, 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,â€ said Webb. â€œFor me, getting off to a good start really allowed me to settle in and trust my game plan for the rest of the day.â€
Webb, who already has a win this season at the ISPS Handa Australian Womenâ€™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.
â€œYeah, it is a different situation, but I`ve always enjoyed coming to Singapore,â€ said Webb. â€œI 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.â€
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.
â€œOn 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,â€ said Hedwall. â€œThen 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.â€
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. Womenâ€™s Open. She had a third place finish in Singapore last season.
â€œI played well,â€ said Creamer. â€œI 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.â€
World No. 1 Inbee Park shot a 2-under 70 while No. 2 Suzann Pettersen is tied for 12th after a 1-under 71.
â€œI think my strategy today going into the greens was really good, so I`m not going to change my ball striking plan,â€ said Park. â€œI`m just going to try to read the greens a little bit more carefully. They seem to not have much break.â€
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.