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Aussie Webb brought to tears at start of LPGA Crown

THE Australian national anthem has reduced Karrie Webb to tears before her opening tee shot at the inaugural LPGA International Crown in Baltimore.

KARRIE Webb was moved to tears as she sang the Australian national anthem before teeing off at the inaugural LPGA International Crown.

The former world No.1 has long championed a global team match-play event and on Thursday finally got the chance to represent her country against the world's best at Caves Valley Golf Club.

"It was very special," Webb said.

"It probably drew more emotion from me than I thought it was going to.

"I really enjoyed the first-tee experience. I was a little more nervous than I thought I was going to be as well."

Advanced Australia Fair proved the tipping point for Webb, who acknowledged a handful of boisterous Aussie fans in the mostly-American crowd.

"I hope no one could hear me. I was trying not to sing loud enough for anyone to hear how off-pitch I was," Webb joked.

"I'm a bit of a sap sometimes so I wasn't surprised (at being so emotional). Because I'm not in Australia very often I don't get to hear my national anthem very often.

"I could hear it when I'm watching like a football game and get tears in my eyes, just because I don't hear it very often and how proud I am to be Australian.

"So I wasn't surprised, but I guess I was a little bit. It did mean a lot for me."

For years, Australian and Asian players looked with envy at US and European rivals playing in the Solheim Cup.

But this biennial $US1.6 million ($A1.73 million) event has given eight national teams of four women the chance to fight for global bragging rights.

Australia and South Korea ended the opening day tied for second in their pool after each scored a win, behind leaders Japan, who won one and halved another against Sweden.

Webb paired with top world amateur Minjee Lee for a 2-up win over I.K. Kim and Choi Na-Yeon, while Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright lost 3&3 to Park In-Bee and Ryu So-Yeon.

"Minjee played great. I'm very proud of her," Webb said. "I just rode on her back."

Meanwhile Taiwan shocked the field with two wins over top seeds United States, who boast four of the world's top 12 players.

Candie Kung and Teresa Lu enjoying the biggest victory of the day - trumping Solheim Cup veterans Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer 4&3 - before Tseng Yani sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th to give her and Phoebe Yao a 1-up victory over world No.1 Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson.

"I feel like old Yani is back," five-time major winner Tseng said.

"I haven't had this feeling for a long time. I'm pumped up because I'm playing for my country."

Spain won then halved with Thailand for second and third spot respectively in pool A, ahead of last-placed US.


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