Webb not satisfied at No. 2
Karrie Webb didn't even know she was the second-ranked player worldwide until some of her friends told the Aussie about it earlier in the week.
What surprised the former world No. 1 even more was how quickly she overtook Lorena Ochoa, who exited the 2006 campaign second to top-ranked Annika Sorenstam. Ochoa won six events last year and placed runner-up another half-dozen times, to finish first on the money list with nearly $2.6 million.
Webb won five tournaments herself in 2006, including a major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She also finished second at the LPGA Championship after losing in a playoff to Se Ri Pak. In the other two majors, she tied for 37th at the U.S. Women's Open and missed the cut at the Women's British Open.
Ochoa lost to Webb at the Kraft Nabisco in a playoff, tied for ninth at the LPGA Championship, tied for 20th at the U.S. Open and tied for fourth at the British. Both players are so close, Webb believes one shot here or there could make the difference.
"I was a little surprised actually because it is taken over a two-year period and I didn't really play that well two years ago," Webb said. "I would think that Lorena has had a better two-year period than I've had.
"Yeah, obviously, it's a good feeling to be No. 2. But Lorena could beat me by one place this week and go back to No. 2. I think it's that close. But the goal is still to be No. 1 and I'm just that much closer."
Webb went as low as 4 under during yesterday's opening round of the Fields Open in Hawaii, before bogeying two of the final three holes to settle at a familiar score of 2-under 70. She shot three consecutive 70s to finish third at last week's SBS Open.
"I've had it almost up to here as far as playing in the wind," Webb said, as she brought her hand level to her green eyes. "We played in it almost as much in Australia as well (where Webb managed two consecutive victories).
"I got as low as 4 under, but I bogeyed seven and eight (she teed off on the back nine) coming in. It's very windy up there on that part of the course. I'm very happy with 2 under. I never felt that I shot the ball that well. That's four 70s in a row for me. Hopefully, we can break it on the right side tomorrow."
Webb is tied for 10th with a dozen other golfers entering today's second round, four shots off the pace of tour rookie Angela Park and Stacy Prammanasudh. She is one shot clear of Ochoa, who fired an opening-round 71.
Scoring shock: Meaghan Francella was having a little lunch, watching the Golf Channel, when she noticed her score on television wasn't the same as she had signed for a half-hour before.
The television score was 3-under 69 and she had signed for a 4-under 68. She immediately looked for a tour official to let him know her score was wrong. Fortunately for the second-year player from New York, she didn't sign a wrong scorecard. The mistake was made by an official, who thought she parred the eighth, when it fact she had birdied it.
"I'm really anal about my scorecard," Francella said. "I triple-check it, my caddie checks it, so I knew it was right," Francella said. "So I wasn't extremely concerned, but I was a little nervous when I saw 3 under on TV."
After missing the cut at last week's SBS Open, Francella went to watch Juli Inkster play for nine holes in her final round, just to see how a Hall of Famer handles herself on the course.
"Juli didn't play her best," Francella said. "But she was extremely confident. And I think that's something that I learned last week is that I can play out here. I need to be confident that I can do that."
Francella won only $5,554 last year on the LPGA tour, but was a top-five money winner on the Futures Tour. Her best finish in three LPGA events last year was a tie for 39th. Her 68 yesterday is a career low on the LPGA.
Locals hanging in: Cindy Rarick may be nearing the end of her career, but yesterday's 1-under 71 put a spring in her step as the 47-year-old former University of Hawaii golfer exited her final hole.
Although she said she won't play golf forever, her 71 at the wind-blown Ko Olina golf course left her in a tie for 22nd. Beginning her 22nd year on tour, Rarick is not an exempt player. She played in only 13 events last season, making the cut in five. Her best finish was a tie for 27th. Rarick's best round was a 5-under 67 at last year's inaugural Fields Open.
"I hit the ball well today," Rarick said. "I hit a lot of greens in regulation on the back nine. The wind was so tough coming into you on Nos. 2 and 3, I missed a bunch of greens on the back side. I even bogeyed No. 5, so that was frustrating. It's a par 5 that you can make birdie. It was straight down wind today.
"Overall, I'm pretty happy with my game. I putted much better this week than last. And I'm just happy because I've been improving my GIRs. (greens in regulation). That's the stat I'm working on. And today, it was tough with the wind. I don't think there will be that many players hitting that many greens."
Rarick was the first group off the 10th hole yesterday. She had an eagle at the par-5 13th and a birdie at the par-5 14th. She also had two bogeys at Nos. 3 and 5.
"It was fun to get under early and to hang in there for a while," Rarick said, who made only $26,108 last year. "I was about 80 yards out at the par-5 13th and I was trying to hit it past the hole. I hit it about an inch from the hole and it spun right in for eagle."
Former Big Island resident Kimberly Kim, who resides in Arizona with her mom, wasn't quite as fortunate. After parring nine consecutive holes on the front, Kim bogeyed the 10th en route to an opening round of 74. She missed the cut at last week's SBS Open and is right on the cut line entering today's round.