19 Aug 2021 | Professional golf |

Eight Aussies brace for the brute of Carnoustie

by PGA of Australia

Hannah Green during a practice round at Carnoustie.

By Tony Webeck

Jean Van de Velde will find this hard to read but in her first look at Carnoustie’s famed 18th hole – named “Home” and not for its welcoming nature – Hannah Green hit 3-wood, wedge to a front pin in a practice round.

The West Australian knows that a change in wind direction and the pressure of the 72nd hole of a major championship will make it play infinitely more difficult on Sunday yet she enters the AIG Women’s Open hitting the ball further than at any time in her career and with the knowledge of what it takes to win a major.

Green and fellow Mount Lawley Golf Club member Kirsten Rudgeley will have the honour of being the first two Aussies out in the opening round of the Women’s Open on Thursday afternoon AEST, a total of eight Australians teeing it up in the final golf major of the year.

The Women’s Open has not graced the fairways of Carnoustie since Yani Tseng’s triumph in 2011 and a decade later will play 360 yards longer at a total of 6,850 yards.

That is still 511 yards shorter than 1999 when Van de Velde suffered his final hole calamity to see the Claret Jug slip through his fingers but will present the game’s best female players with arguably the toughest test they will face all year.

“There are a lot of tough holes coming in so I feel like whoever is leading come Sunday probably wants quite a big lead prior to playing those last few,” said Green, the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA champion.

“We’re so lucky to be playing Carnoustie. I feel like watching it on the TV and watching the men play here – obviously it’s been 10 years since the women last played here – we are just so fortunate to be able to play.

“Even when I drove in, I was kind of just smiling the entire way and even on the golf course.

“I feel like at least that’s one positive that if you don’t have such a great hole, you look at the bigger picture and are like, I’m playing Carnoustie, this is pretty damn cool.”

Tied for 16th two years ago at Woburn, Green has three top-five finishes on the LPGA Tour in 2021 and was fifth at the Olympics, crediting her strong results with an increase in distance that she and coach Ritchie Smith built into her game late last year.

At a course such as Carnoustie with six par 4s playing in excess of 400 yards it is an asset that the 24-year-old will lean on heavily this week.

“It definitely helps when it comes to venues that are windy,” said Green, whose average driving distance has increased from 254.69 yards in 2020 (54th on the LPGA Tour) to 269.08 in 2021 (17th).

“I feel like this golf course in particular is really good for us because there’s a lot of bunkers that you have to take on and some of them I can carry as opposed to some of them where we might have to go with a 3-wood or 5-wood off the tee to stay short of them.

“When I returned to the Tour in March and played golf courses that we played last few years it was very weird taking different lines. I almost struggled a little bit committing to shots because I wasn’t used to taking that type of line.

“I feel like brand new golf courses are actually better for me. I can go in there with a fresh mindset, so I’m hoping that will be the same this week.”

While Green and Evian Championship winner Minjee Lee headline the Australian contingent at Carnoustie it is a representation that has swelled in recent weeks.

Su Oh’s place in the field was only confirmed following the ISPS HANDA World Invitational two weeks ago in Ireland, Whitney Hillier secured her major championship debut with a tie for 15th at last week’s Women’s Scottish Open and WA amateur Kirsten Rudgeley played her way into her first major at Final Qualifying on Monday.

The other Australians taking part this week are experienced LPGA Tour duo Katherine Kirk and Sarah Kemp and 2020 Ladies European Tour rookie of the year Stephanie Kyriacou.

Round 1 tee times AEST

3.41pm Kirsten Rudgeley (a), Lee-Anne Pace, Luna Sobron Galmes

4.25pm Hannah Green, Amy Olson, Moriya Jutanugarn

4.36pm Minjee Lee, So Yeon Ryu, Atthaya Thitikul

4.58pm Lydia Ko, Ayaka Furue, Jennifer Kupcho

6.53pm Su Oh, Brittany Lincicome, Alice Hewson

7.26pm Steph Kyriacou, Kristen Gillman, Ursula Wikstrom

11.33pm Katherine Kirk, Lucie Malchirand, Maha Haddioui

12.17am Sarah Kemp, Manon de Roey, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras

12.28am Whitney Hillier, Marissa Steen, Prima Thammaraks

Hannah Green

Age: 24

Rolex World Ranking: 15

Past Opens: 3

Best Open finish: T16 (2019)

Best finish in 2021: 2nd at HSBC Women’s World Championship

Last start: MC at Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open

Whitney Hillier

Age: 30

Rolex World Ranking: 409

Past Opens: Nil

Best Open finish: First appearance

Best finish in 2021: T15 at Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open

Last start: T15 at Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open

Sarah Kemp

Age: 35

Rolex World Ranking: 142

Past Opens: 10

Best Open finish: T58 in 2014

Best finish in 2021: 4th at Pure Silk Championship

Last start: MC at Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open

Katherine Kirk

Age: 39

Rolex World Ranking: 117

Past Opens: 12

Best Open finish: 2nd in 2010

Best finish in 2021: T25 at Pure Silk Championship

Last start: T34 at Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open

Stephanie Kyriacou

Age: 20

Rolex World Ranking: 106

Past Opens: 1

Best Open finish: 72nd in 2020

Best finish in 2021: Won Big Green Egg Open

Last start: 65th at Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open

Minjee Lee

Age: 25

Rolex World Ranking: 11

Past Opens: 7

Best Open finish: 3rd (2020)

Best finish in 2021: Won Evian Championship

Last start: MC at Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open

Su Oh

Age: 25

Rolex World Ranking: 108

Past Opens: 7

Best Open finish: T15 (2018)

Best finish in 2021: T3 at The Players Series Victoria

Last start: T34 at Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open

Kirsten Rudgeley (a)

Age: 20

Rolex World Ranking: 804

Past Opens: Nil

Best Open finish: First appearance

Best finish in 2021: Won English Women’s Amateur Championship, Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Championship

Join our newsletter

Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions.

Related News

Golf Australia Logo
Join our newsletter

Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions!