By Luke Buttigieg After winning the MFS Women&aposs Australian Open on Sunday at Royal Sydney, Karrie Webb is looking to continue her fine form next week as she mounts a challenge on the world No.1 ranking. In 2000 Webb won the ANZ Ladies Masters crown for the third straight year and then also added her first Women&aposs Australian Open title as she finished the year with 10 victories worldwide and ranked at world No.1. Reminded after claiming the Patricia Bridges Bowl as Open champion, having closed with an even-par 72 to prevail by six strokes from Yun-Jye Wei of Chinese Taipei, Webb is keen to make further inroads on current benchmark Annika Sorenstam. “I feel very good about things, it&aposs always nice to start your year off here in Australia and then win at home too, it&aposs very nice, a very nice start, Webb said. “I think it&aposs just good momentum boost for me to know that after the two-month layoff that I had from tournament golf (over summer), to get straight back into it and play some really solid golf. The ball-striking day I had yesterday (when she carded a 68) is very encouraging.” “The other three days weren&apost necessarily up to par there but my short game was really solid this week, I hit a lot of good chips around these greens and good bunker shots to pretty tough greens to pitch to with fairly fast greens and firm greens.” Having expected the winning score to be not much better than even-par, Webb exceeded her own expectations even though the wind also didn&apost play as big a part as it could have. As is the case with most elite sportspeople, the 32-year-old Queenslander is not fully satisfied with her performance in her first start of the season but is wiser now and not as concerned about playing entertaining golf if less attractive play gets the job done. “What was good, again having that layoff, was that once I got into tournament mode on Thursday the mental part of my game came back and I was really able to play good quality golf even if I didn&apost feel like my game was at the highest standards at all times during the week,” Webb said. “If you&aposre mentally able to deal with that (only playing at her absolute best a couple of weeks a year) and still be able to go out and trust your game on the golf course and get the ball in the hole, that&aposs what makes me have a better chance of getting back to No.1.” “It&aposs what I did when I was No.1 in the world, I would win tournaments not playing my best and before last year, the couple of years that I had before that, the way I hit the ball this week I probably would have finished over-par for the tournament (because of) the mental state that I was in and really hard on myself and expecting perfection every week.” Webb also gave a thumbs up to the initiatives of this year, which included allowing fans to get closer to the action than they normally would in a throwback to several decades ago. And having identified the 10th hole as a &aposturning point&apos of the final day, when Webb saved par after finding trouble in a greenside bunker and Wei went on to make bogey when a par looked certain, Webb believes she is simply a better player now. “I do believe that I am (a better player now than several years ago),” she said. “It&aposs hard for people to understand that but I think the standard of golf has gotten that much better.” “I&aposm definitely physically a better player and mentally I&aposm getting as close to and as strong as I was, but now I have a better understanding of that whole process so I think all in all that makes me a better player.” Having earned them with her victory, Webb was &apossure there&aposll be a drink or two in the plans&apos for Sunday night, and she will head to Royal Pines next week favoured to add a sixth Ladies Masters title to her collection of triumphs.
Author: Luke Buttigieg