A rules official has saved Karrie Webb a potential two-shot penalty for teeing up wrongly in the opening round of the women’s Australian Open.

Veteran Karrie Webb narrowly avoided another major embarrassment as she teed off in the opening round of the women’s Australian Open.

The long-time leading Australian female golfer, who was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard at the Ladies Masters in Queensland last week, almost found herself involved in another rules infraction.

Among the early starters in perfect playing conditions at the Victoria Golf Club on Thursday, Webb started her round on the 10th tee.

The former world No.1 and seven-time major champion was setting up for her opening shot when a brave call from match referee John Hopkins saved her a potential two-shot penalty.

The Golf Australia chairman and Webb’s pro-am partner a day earlier interrupted the Queenslander to inform her that her ball was millimetres in front of the tee markers.

“How’s that?” Webb questioned after she moved her ball back.

She then smashed her tee shot 20 metres past her playing partners, American Stacy Lewis and world No.2 Norwegian Suzann Pettersen.

Webb was inconsistent early on before finishing with birdie to sign for a 71 which was five off the pace.

“It wasn’t as good as I would like but I made twice as many birdies in the one round today as I did in two last week,” the world No.8 said.

“I didn’t drive the ball as well as I would like but it really hung tough and made a couple of nice putts on the way in to get into one under.”

She appeared more annoyed than upset by the first tee showdown.

“John Hopkins thought that my ball was ahead of the tee markers, which no one else in my group did, but as long as he did,” Webb said.

“As long as he felt useful, I guess that’s a good thing.”