Karrie Webb can go one better than Phil Mickelson this week.
Four days after Mickelson won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for a fifth time, Webb moved into early position to make a run at winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open for the sixth time.
Mickelson, 48, equaled Mark O’Meara for most victories in the Pebble Beach event.
Webb, 44, has won her national open more than any other woman. Nobody else has won it more than twice.
“I'm very honored to have my name on that trophy five times, and, hopefully, would like to add it another time or two,” Webb said at week’s start.
Mickelson won his 44th PGA Tour title last week.
Webb’s looking to win her 42nd LPGA title.
A 5-under-par 67 left Webb tied for second at The Grange Golf Club outside Adelaide, two shots behind the first-round leaders, England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and China’s Wei-Ling Hsu. England’s Bronte Law and Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom are also two back.
Webb’s last title came at the Founders Cup in 2014.
Beth Daniel, by the way, is the oldest winner of an LPGA title. She was 46 when she won the Canadian Women’s Open in 2003.
Unlike Mickelson, Webb’s shifting into part-time mode as a player. She teed it up in just eight LPGA events a year ago, and she’s looking at playing only eight to 10 this year.
Webb scaled back last year, citing her desire to spend more time in her native Australia with family and friends. That doesn’t mean she isn’t still playing to win.
“I won't be out here if I don't think I'm competitive,” Webb said. “But, obviously, there's playing and then there's playing tournament golf, and just the little things that need to go into playing well for all four days.
“I think that I'm quite capable of it, but it's a bit more of a lottery than when I was thinking about it 365 days of the year. But, yeah, my game feels pretty good.”
Webb has a lot of good memories to draw upon this week. She won Women’s Australian Open titles in 2000, ’02, ’07, ’08 and ’14.
“I played well here, so I really hope that translates to a good week,” Webb said.
Webb reiterated this week that she missed out on a lot of “life events” while traveling the world to compete for so long. She began making up for that last year, when she spent four-and-a-half months in Australia, twice as much time as she ever did after joining the LPGA and moving to the United States two decades ago.
“The desire to still compete will always be there, and I don't think I will ever tire of that,” Webb said. “But it's what goes into it for the whole year, to play full time.”
Webb said it never felt like she was sacrificing life experiences for golf over the first 18 years or so of her career, but then ...
“It started to feel like a sacrifice,” Webb said. “It felt like I was missing out on life.”
Webb said she made more birthday parties last year for her nieces and nephews than she ever has.
“I did a little bit of travel, played a little bit of golf,” Webb said, “but just mostly enjoyed being home.”