Date: March 27, 2015
Author: Martin Blake

Webb hits form in California

The ageless Karrie Webb has rallied behind a good putting round to make a fine start in the LPGA's Kia Classic in California.

Webb, who recently celebrated her 40th birthday, is just two shots from the lead held by South Korea's Mirim Lee after the first round, tied for third after her 67.

Webb missed just one fairway and had only 28 putts, telling the media that her score was finally reflecting the quality of her play.

The Australian rolled in birdie putts at the eighth and ninth holes, her 17th and 18th for the day, to leave the course with good memories, signing for a bogey-free 67.

Her improved form is an excellent sign leading into the first women's major of the season, the ANA Inspiration, next week.

Webb said the swing changes she made after linking with a new coach, American Mike McGetrick, last  year were beginning to kick in.

"It was more just cementing those changes in the off season, so I didn't have to think too much about them on the golf course,'' she said.  "There's still times where I have to think a little bit about them, but for the most part it's sticking, which is good.''

The veteran acknowledged that her split from longtime Australian coach Ian Triggs "wasn't an easy decision to make at this stage in my career'', but she has few regrets.

"I didn't want something to take a long time, and it took a little longer that I would have liked because I didn't think the changes were that significant, but they apparently were, on the golf course.  My body and my mind didn't want to allow that to happen on the course.''

The 2016 Olympics, where golf makes its reappearance after more than a century, are driving Webb forward. She admits that beyond Rio de Janeiro, she may not play full-time on tour anymore.

"Yes, it's probably why I made a coach change,'' she said.  "You know, if I didn't have that long-term goal, I don't know if I'd be playing full time right now.  So that's keeping me out here.''

At 40, she is twice the age of many of the top players around her, including the 17-year-old Ko, but she insists it rarely bothers her. "I feel like I'm the same age as everybody.  I don't walk any slower; I don't hit the ball any shorter for the most part.  Some girls are bombing it past me now.  But I don't feel like what I used to think 40 was.''