A week spent shadowing seven-time major winner Karrie Webb is already paying off for Maddison Hinson-Tolchard ahead of her major championship debut at this week’s US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.

A college standout for Oklahoma State University, Hinson-Tolchard topped 36-hole regional qualifying for the US Women’s Open in Texas just days after finishing fourth at the NCAA National Championship.

A 2023 recipient of the Karrie Webb Scholarship, the timing could not have been better.

As part of the scholarship, Hinson-Tolchard [pictured, left] and Queensland’s Justice Bosio [pictured, right] were hosted by Webb [pictured, centre] at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club just two weeks ago.

It gave the 21-year-old a unique opportunity to get a taste of what to expect at a major before she steps inside the ropes in the early hours of Friday morning, Australian time.

“It was really cool to go to the KPMG and experience what a major championship was like and the atmosphere around it all,” said Hinson-Tolchard, who won the Big 12 Women’s Championship in April and is the 43rd ranked player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

“Now I get to actually play in one myself. That’s really, really cool.”

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An all-Australian dinner on the Tuesday night allowed Hinson-Tolchard to spend time with major champions Minjee Lee and Hannah Green, idols who for the next four days are just fellow competitors.

But it was her time with Webb that she will draw upon when she tees it up alongside Albane Valenzuela and Momoko Ueda.

“I had played practice rounds with Karrie before at Australian Opens and stuff, but I’d never really had the opportunity to get to know her on a more personal level,” she explained. “The week was really awesome to get to know her, use her as a resource to ask a lot of questions.

“She’s an amazing woman. All of the success that she’s had in her career, it was really cool to pick her brain and see how she’s gone about things and hopefully learn as much as I could from her.”

Yet even with that introduction to golf’s showpiece events, there some things that you simply cannot prepare for.

“When I was registering, Nelly Korda came in and stood right next to me,” said Hinson-Tolchard, who will have boyfriend Brian Stark on the bag and sister Jorja and aunt Tarryn in the gallery this week.

“That was a bit of an ‘Oh my god’ moment, that I’m actually here and that I’m going to be competing against the best in the world.

“I feel like I definitely deserve to be here, I worked hard to earn my spot. I’m not here to just make up the numbers, I’m here to compete and give it my best shot.”

Fellow qualifier Gabriela Ruffels will be the first Australian to tee off alongside WPGA Tour of Australasia regular Charlotte Thomas at 12am tonight with defending champion Minjee Lee to play with AIG Women’s Open and Women’s Australian Open champion Ashleigh Buhai and 2022 US Women’s Amateur champion Saki Baba at 1:17am (AEST).