KirkwoodGolf: Australian Karrie Webb leads the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Ladies Open at Dundonald

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Australian Karrie Webb leads the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Ladies Open at Dundonald

Karrie Webb out on the course
Her afternoon round of 65 has given her the lead going into the second day
Photo courtesy: Joyce Hunnam)

From the Ladies European Tour website.
Australian Karrie Webb defied blustery conditions to conjure a stunning 65 for a one stroke lead on the opening day of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
The 42-year-old from Ayr in Queensland sprinted in with six birdies – including five in a row from the 11th – for a back-nine total of 30 at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire.
Webb is a stroke ahead of fellow former world number one Cristie Kerr from the United States, who shot a 66 in winds gusting up to 25mph in the morning. The veteran pair have 60 LPGA wins and two Major championship titles between them, while four more experienced competitors are lined up behind them on three-under-par.
Olympic gold medallist Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Sei Young Kim and Pornanong Phatlum all made light of the tough conditions, while Ladies European Tour players Kylie Henry and Michele Thomson lead the field’s nine Scottish players, with one-over 73s.
Most were left astonished by Webb’s magnificent performance, after the Hall of Famer produced some precision iron-play to set up eight birdies in total.

Read the rest of the report here 


Leading Scores
65 Karrie Webb
66 Christie Kerr
69 Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, Pornanong Phatlum, Lina Boqvist

Scottish Scores
73 Michelle Thomson, Kylie Henry
74 Catriona Matthew
75 Carly Booth
79 Sally Watson, Pamela Pretswell
80 Gemma Dryburgh, Kelsey Macdonald
83 Vikki Laing

First round interview with Karrie Webb

Q. That was quite an incredible round out there, 7-under, and what are your reflections?
KARRIE WEBB: You know, when we were warming up and our first few holes, obviously it was really cold and really windy. I looked at the scoreboard and saw that Cristie Kerr shot 6-under, and I was like, what course did she play today.

Then I sort of really hung in there through the front nine and made a nice birdie on 9 to turn at 1-under, and then just really started swinging at it well and hitting it quite close and had some good birdie chances and made the most of them.

Q. You had that back nine, was quite something. Was it just the confidence surging through you?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I did start to hit some good shots, and I just kept telling myself to just keep going. When you make a few birdies, not to just go into the mode of holding on. I felt like I was swinging it pretty well and seeing the reads well and hitting solid putts.

I was just tell myself just to keep going and make as many birdies as I could.

Q. In conditions like this, does experience actually play more of a part than perhaps other tournaments where conditions are more benign?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I think so. I've enjoyed playing links golf for many years, and Johnny, my caddie, is Scottish, and we actually played Troon together yesterday. He has a lot of experience playing links golf, so we worked really well together.

I think we got really lucky with the weather. To have no rain this afternoon, I think is very lucky and I think the wind even died just a little bit. Probably our last five or six holes.

Q. Is Johnny your regular caddie?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, he's caddied for me for a couple of years.

Q. His second name?

Q. What was the pick of the birdies in that little run, five in a row, was it?
KARRIE WEBB: I didn't really have a lot of long putts to be honest with you. On 11 I hit it to maybe two feet.

12 was about seven or eight feet.

13 was about four or five feet.

14 was a bit longer, six or seven.

I actually played a really good iron shot into 15. I actually said to Johnny that, you know, when we played the practice round, we could use that bank on the right so that you didn't bring that bunker into play.

You know, I just hit the shot that I saw and it carried into that bank and came down to about eight feet. That was a tricky read. So to make that one and to keep it going was really nice.

Q. Yourself and Cristie, obviously both experienced. What does that say about today and the challenge?
KARRIE WEBB: I liked the experience part, rather than old (laughter). Yeah, I think so. I think you can't get too far ahead of yourself on days like this, and links golf, you've really just got to hit the shot in front of you and not really get too far ahead of yourself.

I think if you get into a comfort zone -- and I drove the ball really well today. If you do that, it really helps take the stress off trying it make pars from the long stuff.

Q. In terms of your form, I know you played pretty well at U.S. Open?
KARRIE WEBB: I played better than my result.

Q. Do you feel this has been coming?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, it's been a bit of an unusual year for me. I haven't enjoyed how I've played much at all but I really did feel at the U.S. Open, I turned a corner a little bit. Probably just more mentally than anything. Just trusting the work that I've done and you know, just backing myself a little bit more.

And I actually played quite well at the U.S. Open. I just didn't make the putts that I needed to. But I didn't putt poorly. I just either didn't read them well or my speed was off every now and then.

But yeah, I felt that I sort of turned a corner there, and I mean, these two weeks were the highlight of my year. When I set my schedule, I was really excited to play in Scotland for two weeks.

Q. Are you working with the same person or anything specific?
KARRIE WEBB: Working with the same person. Same stuff. Sometimes you've just got to hear it a little differently. You know, my iron game, really for most of this year, but a little bit of last year, hasn't been great. I pride myself on being a good iron player. I think that really took a toll on me mentally because that was always something I could trust. I didn't really have to worry about that.

I really hit my irons probably the best I had for four rounds at the U.S. Open, so I think mentally that I got over that hump.

First Round Interview with Catriona Matthew  (who had a 74)

Q. Thoughts on that?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Birdied the last, so a good 2-putt from 30 yards. I actually I hit two bad shots, and made bogey from each of them. Then actually hit a good drive down 2 and just stayed straight dead in the wind and went in the bunker, so bogey.

Played the rest of the holes nicely but just didn't really hole any putts.

Q. And the conditions?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It's pretty windy. It was windy. Obviously not great but felt as though I played well. I just need to hole a few more putts. This kind of weather, you're going to make the odd mistake, so you need to make a few birdies.

Q. Nice to finish with a birdie?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It's always nice to finish.

Q. 6-under around there for Karrie and Cristie, pretty impressive?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Very impressive. It was windy all day, so yeah, two very good scores.

Q. Is that a day that shows that experience could count out there?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I suppose maybe if you're used to playing in it a little bit. It was probably at least three clubs in some spots. So you had to try to keep it under the wind. In that kind of weather, you know, it's tough to get the ball close.

Q. Go out tomorrow and try and get in the mix?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, absolutely.

Long time Leader in the Clubhouse
Christie Kerr at the Press Conference after her first round of 66
(Photo courtesy: Joyce Hunnam)

Interview with Cristie Kerr

Q. 6-under and in these conditions, that was really one hell of a round, wasn't it?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it was. The score added up really well. It was still tough to stand over the shots that you needed to execute, and it's never easy here. So I'm very pleased with the score.

Q. What was clicking?
CRISTIE KERR: I just controlled my ball really well out there, with the crosswinds and trajectory and I had a great day. I just kind of hit the ball where I was trying to hit it in the areas I was trying to hit it in, and made some putts, as well.

Q. What are you most pleased about, the birdies or the lack of bogeys?
CRISTIE KERR: Both. I mean, today was a great day, and as you can tell, you know, from the scores, as well, it's never easy here. You can never take anything for granted. You've just got to try to do as well as you can do on each shot and that was my goal.

Q. That was a great way to finish. It was a fantastic approach, wasn't it?
CRISTIE KERR: Yes, we picked the right club off the tee so that we could have a full shot and be able to spin it into that green downwind, so we had good strategy.

Q. Physically, are you feeling in 100 per cent condition? Any injuries, obviously worse in the wind and the rain.
CRISTIE KERR: I feel okay actually. I struggled with a few things early this year but you know, this week, so far I've felt really well. The physios that work with the Tour have really been helping me.

Q. What was going well for you out there?
CRISTIE KERR: Like I said, I controlled my ball flight really well and hit it into the areas of the greens that you can make some putts from.

Q. This is a links course. How comfortable are you with links golf?
CRISTIE KERR: It's actually some of my favourite golf. I told my caddie that on the back nine, that it seems like the tougher the conditions, the more I like it for some reason. It's never easy. But it allows you to kind of play different shots and be more artistic, if you well.

Q. So you're liking the tougher conditions, so you'll be wanting it to get a little bit windier and wetter?
CRISTIE KERR: This was tough enough. I like to be challenged mentally, and you know, these kind of conditions force you to focus on the shot at hand and not get ahead of yourself, and I did that really well today.

Q. You've had a lot of good rounds over here, but given the conditions, is that good as good as any?
CRISTIE KERR: I think so. I was controlling my ball flight so well out there. What I was seeing and visualising, it was happening. So it was a great round.

Q. Did you embrace these conditions the first time you ever came here? Can you think back to then, was it something that you enjoyed the challenge?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it is a challenge. You know, my score today added up really well, but it still played really tough out there. You can't take anything for granted in these conditions obviously.

Yesterday was a horrid day. I played four holes in the Pro-Am and my team quit because they had no rain gear and they were just soaking wet in the morning. I felt so bad for them but I was like, I don't blame you guys.

Q. Did you soldier on and play a few more holes?
CRISTIE KERR: No. It was horrible. It was horrible yesterday.

Q. How do you rank that round among the rounds you've played over here?

CRISTIE KERR: I think it's one of the top. You know, I finished second at the ladies British at Royal Lytham before and Lytham is a damn tough, good course, and in tough conditions. You can never take anything for granted here. I'm not going to get too high about this round. I'm going to enjoy it today and tomorrow is going to be another tough day.

Q. Was it the ninth, the pick of your birdies, the best? What did you hit?

CRISTIE KERR: They are all great birdies. I made a great putt on the par 5, fifth. The birdie on -- I mean, they are all great birdies, really, truly.

18, I think that was a great birdie, because there was almost no room to hit it that downwind. I meant to go more left but I blocked it. It was a good miss and it went on the back of the green and I had this like 100-foot into the wind and I 2-putted that. It was great.

Q. This is a big week and next week is a big week and Solheim Cup is on the horizon. Does that get your juices flowing still?
CRISTIE KERR: Definitely. It's fierce competition. You know, we won it last time but we still have to think of ourselves at the underdogs. There's too much good golf to be played. You just see crazy things happen in that competition. You know, we were up in a match and Carlota like holed out a 7-iron to level the match, you know. Chip-ins and long putts, there's just too much good golf to be had.

Q. This year, is it your ninth?
CRISTIE KERR: Should be ninth, yeah.

Q. Have you got your own company, is it?
CRISTIE KERR: Kerr Cellars. We have two different brands and five different varietals. We make a sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, Napa Valley cab and a reserve red wine, which is a blend, which is like a proprietary red wine. Everything is sourced from Napa and Sonoma.

Q. Have you tried whisky?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, we went to the Loch Lomond distillery. Part of the education of becoming a sommelier, you learn about whiskys. I was able to meet with them there. Loch Lomond is gorgeous. I had never been over there before. It was Monday and it was sunny and beautiful. We had dinner there, as well. It was amazing to learn about the whiskys. There's just as many subtleties in whisky as there are in wine, and to see how they are made and how they are distilled and blended and depending if you like highland style or lowland styles.

Q. Have you got a favourite?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, actually one they gave us from the distillery was their signature cask whisky, so it's a little bit more of the highland style. But it was nine-year, and it was amazing. What's interesting about that one -- because I geek out about wine and different things, is they use a strain of wine yeast instead of their traditional yeast to distill, to ferment, rather. So it just gave it like a softer, smoother taste, because that's not the traditional yeast they use for fermentation.

Q. Is this your 20th year on Tour?
CRISTIE KERR: 21st I think. I can't remember. I'm too old.

Q. Still get the thrill of competing against the youngsters?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I feel young at heart. Golf ball doesn't know age.