10 Oct 2020 | Professional golf |
Green charges back from brink
by Mark Hayes
The quinella of Minjee Lee and Hannah Green as leading Australians at the halfway point of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship would have been the short-priced favourite.
Sure, the bookmakers are still paying out, but not before one hell of a 36-hole ride.
The Perth pair will be joined by Katherine Kirk tomorrow as the only Australians to survive the cut at a testing Aronimink in suburban Philadelphia.
All three will need a minor miracle to chase down leader Sei Young Kim, who closed with five birdies in six holes for a front-nine 29 that vaulted her clear of the field at four under.
But after what Green did today, who’s to say it’s not possible?
Green played, by her standards, a miserable and birdie-free first round that left many thinking her title defence would be short-lived.
But that would make them grossly unaware of the heart that pounds in the Mount Lawley 23-year-old.
Green started her second round at nine over par with only seven of the 132-strong field behind her after her worst score against par in her LPGA Tour career.
She finally found her first birdie at the seventh today, but immediately gave back the shot on the par-3 eighth.
But it soon clicked.
A birdie on the 10th was followed by three in succession from the 14th and the West Australian was suddenly at five over as the cut line moved back toward her.
By day’s end, those at six over made the weekend action and Green was remarkably in a share of 46th.
“I hit better shots today, but (importantly) better mis-hits, too,” Green said.
“(When I) finally got the pace of the greens, I holed some crucial putts coming down the stretch.”
Green’s fully aware that, still nine shots off the pace despite her 13-shot second-round turnaround gave her a 66, the challenge ahead is enormous.
But, remarkably, she’s not without hope in a major championship being played on a famous course that has an ability to punish like few on tour.
“It’s hard to know if I can contend, I would need to go low again this (entire) weekend,” she said.
“But I feel like my game is going in the right direction.”
Lee began on the tenth today and had drifted dangerously to five over in total by the time she reached her last hole.
But a birdie up the par-5 ninth put her to safety with a 71 that put her in a share of 39th at four over, just eight back.
Kirk, too, had drifted into trouble and found herself on the wrong side of the cut line when she took a bogey on the 16th.
But a clutch birdie on the par-3 17th enabled the Queenslander to progress on the number at six over.
A spectacular blast from the front left bunker on the par-5 16th – for the tournament’s first eagle – gave Su Oh strong hope that she’d be around with 11 holes to play and her total at three over.
Like Lee, a double-bogey up the first put her on the brink, but unlike her peers, she couldn’t find the late magic and two more bogeys on the seventh and ninth relegated her to eight over after a 75.
Sarah Kemp carded a respectable 72 but was too far back after an opening 77, while Sarah Jane Smith added a 76 to her opening 78 to give both the weekend off.
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