Webb among leaders at Australian Masters

Karrie Webb

Karrie Webb

GOLD COAST, Australia – Seven-time major winner Karrie Webb had eight birdies and two bogeys for an opening-round six-under 66 and was in a six-way tie for the lead Thursday at the Australian Ladies Masters.

Webb mixed three birdies with two bogeys on her front nine but came in with five more birdies. She’s atop the leaderboard with Australian compatriot Karen Lunn, 2009 U.S. Women’s Open champion Ji Eun Hee of South Korea, Cassandra Kirkland of France, Maria Hernandez of Spain and Diana Luna of Italy.

Yani Tseng of Taiwan, ranked No. 2 in the world after winning last week’s Australian Women’s Open, was among a group of seven players a stroke back at 5 under at Royal Pines.

“It’s the best first round I’ve had here for a few years,” said Webb, a former world No.1.

Conditions were perfect for low scoring Thursday, with light winds, but Webb had a mixed start.

“A couple of poor iron swings cost me a few bogeys early, it was a mixed bag,” she said.

Webb also three-putted for par on the final hole but said overall her first round was pleasing.

“It’s nice not to have to make up ground after a (mixed) start,” he said. “With no wind out there, you had to shoot 5 or 6 under.”

Lunn, who has played in 21 of the 22 previous Ladies Masters, had a flawless round with six birdies, including five on the front nine. She was six under after 10 holes and came home with eight straight pars.

“I’ll take 6 under. The conditions were perfect,” the former British Open champion said. “To win this tournament would have to be the highlight of my career.”

Ji Eun Hee also had six birdies and no bogeys in a classy round. She birdied the first, third and ninth holes for a 34 on the front nine and came home with birdies at 10, 11 and 16, making three of her birdies on par fives.

Former British Open champion Tseng carried her form from the Australian Open into her first round, carding eight birdies and three bogeys. She was joined at 5 under by England’s Melissa Reid who had six birdies before bogeying the 18th.

Ahn Shin-Ae of South Korea, Kristie Smith and Sarah-Jane Smith of Australia, Giulia Sergas of Italy and Stacy Lewis of the United States were also a shot off the lead after the first round.

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