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Webb and Hull lead Aussie charge at US Open

Karrie Webb
Dual US Women's Open champion Karrie Webb.

Karrie Webb and Katherine Hull are the only two Australians in the field at this week’s US Women’s Open – the third women’s major of the year on the international schedule – to be played at Blackwolf Run Golf Club in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Webb won the title in 2000 and 2001 and remains the last player to successfully defend the title and one of just seven players to win the title twice in her career.

The course has a reputation for being one of the most challenging on the US Open circuit and last hosted in 1998 when Hall of Fame member Se Ri Pak lifted the trophy and in the process made a landmark step for Koreans in professional golf.

Fellow Hall of Fame member Juli Inkster, who won in 1999 and 2002 recently spoke about this year’s championship venue.

“Toughest course I have ever played for a Women’s Open,” Inkster said.

In 1998, the course produced a winning score of 6-over-par 290, which is tied for the highest winning score in the last 34 years.

Australia’s Jan Stephenson claimed the 1983 Women’s Open at Cedar Ridge C.C. in Tulsa, Okla., with a 6-over 290 total.

The test is expected to be just as stiff in 2012. The course will play to a par of 72 and is nearly 500 metres longer than in 1998.

Greens are anticipated to run at 11.5 to 12 feet on the Stimpmeter, with the first cut of rough topping out between 2½ and 3 inches, depending on hole length.

“The most vigorous, the most difficult yet fair test in championship golf is what awaits these women come July,” said Ben Kimball, the USGA’s director of the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, at media day on May 22.

Defending champion Korean So Yeon Ryu said the greens were more challenging than last year at The Broadmoor, where she defeated countrywoman Hee Kyung Seo in a three-hole playoff.

“This is really a tough course,” said Ryu, whose first two Women’s Opens were played at Oakmont C.C. and The Broadmoor, two highly challenging layouts. “This is the hardest golf course.”

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