Webb takes early lead at US Open, Wie struggles
Australian veteran Karrie Webb staged a back nine birdie blitz to grab a share of the early lead alongside America`s Marina Alex in the women`s US Open on Thursday.
The seven-time major champion rolled back the years with a near-flawless opening round, starting with 10 straight pars before notching four birdies on the back nine to finish with a four-under-par 66 at Pennsylvania`s Lancaster Country Club.
The 40-year-old Queenslander, who won back-to-back Opens in 2000 and 2001, said past experience had taught her to keep her emotions in check as she looked to get off to a smooth start in the tournament.
"I still have my challenges at a US Open," Webb said.
"You always want to do well at this event. And for me it`s about controlling my emotions and not getting too high or too low, especially in the first couple of rounds.
"I did a really good job of that today. I played very well, I didn`t miss a fairway.
"When you play like that, it`s not easy but it`s less stressful than I could have made it."
Joining Webb at the top of the leaderboard was the 24-year-old Alex, who drained three birdies on her final five holes to also finish on 66.
The New Jersey native has endured a rollercoaster season on the LPGA circuit this year, at one stage missing five consecutive cuts before posting her first top 10 finish of the season a fortnight ago.
Alex revealed she was starting to reap benefits from technical tweaks she had implemented in recent months.
"Now that I`ve put some of these changes into play a little more often, I just feel more comfortable and I`m making freer swings and the results are showing from that," Alex said.
"I think this is hopefully a trend in the right direction."
However it was a disappointing start for defending Open champion Michelle Wie, who shot a two-over-par 72 after struggling to get to grips with the demanding 6,353-yard layout, carding four bogeys and two birdies.
Wie however was bullish about her chances of being able to challenge over the remaining rounds.
"You can`t win the tournament on the first day, but you definitely can lose it," she told reporters.
"I definitely feel like I`m in there. I think I held it together today. I had a lot of opportunities where I had to make big putts, and I`m proud of myself for that," she added.
"It`s a tough golf course, so I think you have to try to make birdies when you can."