Karrie Webb has the numbers for Masters glory

It’s a number that beggars belief but Karrie Webb heads into the Australian Ladies Masters on Thursday a phenomenal 262-under-par for her career on the Royal Pines course.  

Webb has played 76 rounds in 20 Ladies Masters tournaments at the resort-style Gold Coast layout, averaging 69 per round from 1993 to 2013 on a course which has been both par 72 and par 73.

Only three times in those 20 tournaments has Webb failed to finish inside the top 10 and she’s always been under par for the tournament.

The 39-year-old former world No.1 has also twice posted a 26-under 262 total – to win the 1999 and 2010 tournaments – while her third round 10-under 62 in 2007 remains the course record.

They are figures which suggest only something very special will stop the Queenslander from defending her crown and claiming the title for a ninth time on Sunday.

England’s Laura Davies, herself a three-time Ladies Masters winner, said a score of 20-under or better would be needed to be in contention on the course, especially against someone as comfortable with it as Webb.

“It’s a really strong field. So you know if you’re 10 to 12 under par, you’re playing for a top 10 finish,” said 50-year-old Davies.

“You just go out fearless and try and make as many birdies as you can because you know pars aren’t going to be good enough.”

Four-time major winner Davies believes Webb’s feat of eight triumphs at the one tournament is an “extraordinary” achievement but a ninth win would be off the charts.

“She’d have to be, again, one of the top favourites to win this because it’s a course she loves,” Davies said.

“She’s obviously still playing well and, yeah, why not?”

Another former Ladies Masters winner, ex-world No.1 Yani Tseng, says nothing but an aggressive approach can deliver victory this week.

The 25-year-old, who has suffered an injury-ravaged past two years, believes she’s got her game in place to spoil Webb’s party.

“On this golf course, everyone wants to birdie,” Tseng said.

“My goal is to go out and make as many birdies as I can … just try to be aggressive this week. Putting is very important.”

Webb will tee off in Thursday’s opening round alongside South Korea’s Chella Choi and Australian Stacey Keating from 7.50am AEST.

Young American Jessica Korda as well as Davies will also tee off in the morning with Tseng among the groups teeing off in the afternoon session.

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