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Webb branches out into course design

Australia's No.1 women's golfer Karrie Webb has launched her new career in golf course design - and almost immediately reverted to her tried and tested occupation.

Webb, who is in Melbourne to attempt to win her second Women's Australian Open at Yarra Yarra, announced her foray into course design a few kilometres away at Keysborough Golf Club.

But she was quick to emphasise that playing the game remained her top priority.

"My playing career is still the most important to me and I'm not going to be designing courses throughout the world and have that monopolise my time," she said.

The $100 million Keysborough project which adds a new nine holes to the club's existing 18 is to be followed by a course in Queensland.

Before any of that work begins, Webb will be trying to register her first victory of the season this weekend.

While she doesn't have to contend with world No.1 and arch-rival Annika Sorenstam at Yarra Yarra, Webb is up against a classy field and an unforgiving golf course.

A strong contingent of Australian players, including Rachel Teske, last week's third placegetter from the Australian Masters Michelle Ellis and Wendy Doolan is lined up against Webb.

The field also includes the Swedes Maria Hjorth, who finished fifth on last year's US LPGA money list, defending champion Sophie Gustafson, American Kelly Robbins and European No.1 Racquel Carriedo of Spain.

For Webb the championship is a stepping stone to regaining the world No.1 crown which she lost last season to Sorenstam.

"It's always good to get the season off to a strong start," she said.

Webb lost to Sorenstam at the fourth play-of hole in the Australian Masters last week, but said today the disappointment had been only momentary.

"The way I played on Sunday I felt fortunate that I had a chance to get into the playoff," she said.

"But it wasn't meant to be, but I can't dwell on it.

"I've got to move on and have a positive outlook for this week."

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