23 Apr 2022 | Professional golf |

'Gobsmacked' Green vaults into the mix

by PGA of Australia

Hannah Green LA image
Hannah Green celebrates her 67 in LA with caddie Nate Blasko. Image: Getty

By Tony Webeck

It took a jaw-dropping putt from 60 feet to remain bogey-free but a round of four-under 67 has elevated Hannah Green to outright third at the halfway point of the DIO Implant LA Open.

The Australian flag is flying high through 36 holes at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles with Green’s five-under total putting her within two of leaders Jin Young Ko (64) and Nasa Hataoka (68) and one clear of fellow West Australian and 2019 champion Minjee Lee (68).

Speaking prior to the start of the tournament, Lee drew comparisons between the Wilshire Country Club layout and those of the famed Melbourne Sandbelt, the wind and the exacting nature of the course proving to be a familiar environment for the Aussie contingent.

A 15-foot putt for birdie at the par-5 second set a nice early tone for Green yet she wouldn’t make any further inroads under par until the par-3 12th. She followed that with birdies at 15 and 16 but said it was an unlikely par at the sixth hole that kept her scorecard devoid of any bogeys.

Conceding that she “completely duffed” her chip shot, Green had a putt from 60 feet that she expected would bounce out of the hole, not drop into it.

“Caroline (Inglis) just said she looked at my face and I was literally gobsmacked,” said Green.

“My jaw was on the ground. I couldn’t believe that it hit the pin and actually stayed in. I thought it was going to ricochet.

“That really helped the hole feel a lot bigger. I knew that the back nine there was going to be a few wedges, I just had to stay patient.”

Chasing her first LPGA Tour title since the 2019 Cambia Portland Classic, Green credited an unscheduled day off on Monday for putting her in the right physical and mental frame of mind to produce her best golf.

“I actually took Monday off this week. I was pretty tired from just playing in the wind and travelling from Hawaii,” Green explained.

“I thought about coming to practice in the morning, but as soon as I worked out, I was like, I can’t.

“I went to the gym, so I did something productive. But when I got to the golf on Tuesday morning, I just felt so much more refreshed.

“I feel like I really needed just a mental break, especially after Hawaii trying to stay patient in that wind, so I’m glad with that decision.”

Like Green, it was a birdie blitz on the back nine – her front nine on Friday – that launched Lee up the leaderboard.

Starting with a two at the par-3 12th, the 25-year-old peeled off four birdies on the trot to move into a share of fourth place with Korea’s Haeji Kang at four-under.

“It's definitely a grind-out golf course if you know what I mean,” said Lee.

“There's definitely a lot of birdie opportunities but a lot of easy bogey opportunities, as well, if you just get in a slightly wrong spot.

“If you do have a bogey or a bad shot or a bad score on one of the holes, I think you can definitely bounce back with a birdie.

“It's just good to have that in the back of your mind and just take it as it comes.”

Katherine Kirk (77-70), Su Oh (72-78) and Stephanie Kyriacou (78-76) all failed to advance to the weekend.

Kiwi Amelia Garvey is two shots off the lead at the halfway mark of the Epson Tour’s Copper Rock Championship in Utah, Robyn Choi (T6) and Gabriela Ruffels (T12) the best of the Aussies through 36 holes.

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