Date: February 21, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Old mates wind back the clock


There was only one thing that didn’t seem right.

The undisputed queen of Aussie golf and arguably the next in line to her throne playing together at Royal Melbourne in an LPGA Tour event – but out at 7.55am.

Both Karrie Webb and Rachel Hetherington made pars in fading light on Friday to make the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open cut on the number.

While neither were thrilled with their second-round efforts, the chance to play together again put a broad smile on the faces of two women who revolutionised women’s golf in Australia.

They’ve been down this path before … many times.

Webb and Hetherington won the World Cup for Australia in 2000, the same year they staged one of the greatest ever battles for the national championship – decided only when Karrie’s final-round 64 outlasted Rachel’s 65 at Yarra Yarra.

And while more moons than either would like to admit have been and gone since, the magic when they unite was still plain to see for those who set their alarm clocks.

The fans were still wiping sleep from their eyes by the time Hetherington chipped in on the first and was two under after two holes.

Some more magical scrambling around the greens kept the now full-time mum and part-time pro steady through nine before a two-putt birdie on the 10th gave more than a hint of the magic of yesteryear.

Webb, who battled without luck on Friday, appeared headed in the same direction early today when she leaked approaches right and didn’t commit to putts as her total scored ballooned to seven over.

But, like only true champions do, she buckled down and hit back – determined not to let her good mate scoot away.

A delicate putt on the 8th for birdie steadied the ship, and only some uncharacteristic battles with the flat stick prevented an old-fashioned Webb charge.

She rifled irons befitting her world No.9 ranking to the 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 18th, but only managed a birdie and an eagle for her troubles.

Her three on the par-five 14th sent a raucous cheer around Royal and gave hope that maybe, just maybe, the two would make one last spurt up the leaderboard.

And had a couple of putts dropped, who knows?

“My putter was actually better than yesterday if that’s anything to go by,” Webb said with a wry smile afterwards.

“It’s nice to shoot under par around here. I hit some better iron shots, but there’s still a long way to go.”

The duo, who’ve won a combined 49 times on the LPGA Tour alone, were delighted to have wound back the clock and shared another moment.

“It has always been nice to play with Webby, always great to play with players who are playing well,” Hetherington said.

“We have had some great times,” Webb said. “It’s always great to play with someone you know so well and I’m just happy we could both get it under par.”

For the record, a pair of 71s left them both at three over and a distinct chance that they could play together again tomorrow.

One thing’s for sure – after an impressive showing today, it won’t be anywhere near as early.