World number one Karrie Webb, who won two Australian sports awards
on Monday, will attempt to win the ANZ Ladies Masters for the fourth
consecutive year when she tees-off tomorrow at
the Royal Pines Resort on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Webb heads a quality international line up for what is the opening
event of the 2001 Evian Tour, and she hopes to add to her Female
Athlete of the Year
and Dawn Fraser Sports Personality of the Year awards by securing
her first title of the season here on Sunday.
Also in action over the 6,397 yard Royal Pines layout will be former
world number one Laura Davies, winner of the ALPG Players Championship
weekend, the European number one Sophie Gustafson of Sweden, Scotland's
Catriona Matthew and Webb's compatriots Jane Crafter and Rachel
By her remarkable standards of last year, Webb appears to have had
ordinary start to her 2001 campaign. But as she explained in her
conference following today's pro-am she is more than happy with
"I'm still number one on the US moneylist and I've been in
contention in three of the five events this year so I'm fairly happy,"
said Webb, who won
seven times in America last year and once in Australia.
"It's a matter of putting yourself up there to win it on the
Sunday and I've
managed to do that this season - but things just haven't quite gone
"I've got a new caddie this year in Mike Paterson and things
are right on track as far as I'm concerned. It's our first time
together and it's good that we've been in contention a few times
before the majors.
"But I'm feeling good, the Royal Pines is in great shape and
I played some
good golf in the pro-am today. I can't say I ever really fire up
in the pro-am since it's important to save your best for the tournament.
"But I feel good about it. I've got family and friends watching
this week. I grew up on Bermuda greens and the ones here at Royal
Pines are as good as they get."
In her past four winning appearances in the ANZ Ladies Masters Webb
a stunning 70 under par for 16 rounds. But the 26-year-old from
reluctant to make any predictions for this week.
"I'm not very good at predicting the winning score but I think
we should still see double digits again," added the world number
"They've pushed back the 18th and the 2nd and they've grown
the rough in.
The rough's not long but it's harder to judge on the Bermuda grass.
A lot will also depend on the wind."
As for her rivals, Webb said that she prefers not to focus on any
one player and claims that any one who tees it up tomorrow has a
chance of winning.
Davies, however, who will be playing with new Srixon clubs for the
first time this week, was confident enough to predict that Webb
will be in the running come Sunday afternoon.
"We know that she (Webb) is going to be in the top three with
a few holes to go, so we've got to prepare ourselves for that,"
said Davies, back-to-back winner of this event in 1993 and 1994.
"Karrie's a great champion and if I had to lose to any one
then I would prefer it to be her. But whoever wins on Sunday will
have to play very well, looking at the field."
Renowned for her aversion to practise, Davies also surprised a few
earlier this week when she asked the way to the range. But, as she
explained, it was because she had changed clubs from Maruman to
Srixon and had not had the chance to try them out.
"I only received the clubs recently and I haven't had a chance
to play with them so I thought it best to hit a few balls on the
range," said a smiling Davies, a huge hit with the galleries
"So I spent five minutes on the range just trying them out,
mainly the driver. Maruman, whose clubs I'd used for 14 years, ceased
trading recently and so when Srixon approached me I went to chose
some clubs from their factory in Osaka."
Davies also explained how she enjoyed coming to Australia, a feeling
which is reciprocated every year by the generous galleries at Royal
Webb looking for her 4th straight ANZ Masters title. Allsport.
"I love coming to Oz, as you know," added Davies. "There's
always lot's to do, the weather and the courses are first class,
the people love their golf, and the Aussies always make me feel
While most of the attention will naturally be focused on Webb and
Davies, the lengthened layout should also suit Gustafson. The long-hitting
Swede won twice on the LPGA in 2000 and has already added to that
this season with a victory in the Subaru Memorial of Naples in January.
Gustafson also finished last season as number one on the Evian Tour
after winning four times in Europe and finished off the year by
playing a key role in Europe's thrilling Solheim Cup triumph over
Matthew will also be looking to build on her maiden LPGA victory,
secured a fortnight ago, with another strong performance this week.
broke her duck after five years in America by winning Cup Noodles