Hannah Green (Photo: USGA)
Diligent practice sessions in Perth's heat over the past two weeks paid off for Hannah Green with a brilliant start to the Australian Amateur Championships.
Green fired a three-under 70 at Kingswood to sit tied for second place, three shots behind runaway South Korean Hyun-Kyung Park after the opening qualifying round.
"It was a solid start. I've been working hard at home even though it has been hot, hitting balls at Mount Lawley and (nearby) Melville where my coach is,'' she said.
Green, a Golf Australia national squad member, collected three consecutive birdies on the front nine to jump up the leaderboard. She picked up another shot at the short 15th before failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker at the 17th for the only blemish of a fine start to the championships.
And the 19-year-old, who won the Victorian amateur title at Commonwealth in mid-December, gives the impression she won't be fazed by the predicted heatwave in her second round at Metropolitan tomorrow.
Green was runner-up to Lydia Ko in the New Zealand Open last year and she's looking to again test herself among the professional ranks "if I can get a start" at next month's Victorian Open at Thirteenth Beach, the Women's Australian Open in Adelaide and the Ladies Masters at Royal Pines.
Park set a scorching pace to lead the women's field in the morning groups around the pristine Kingswood layout that's part of the Peninsula-Kingwood Golf Club.
She eagled the par-five 11th and added birdies at the third, fourth, seventh, ninth and 13th, giving back one shot with a bogey at the par-three sixth to sign for a six-under 67.
Late in the afternoon at Metropolitan, Japan's Yumi Matsubara matched Green's 70, while her countrywoman Minami Katsu, the world No.51, shot a 71 to join Queenslander Karis Davidson in a six-way share of fourth.
New Zealand's Ayean Cho was closing on the leader after five birdies in six holes from the ninth to the 14th before a double bogey at the 16th dropped her back into that pack.