01 May 2022 | Professional golf |
Green clings to LPGA lead
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
Her three-stroke 36-hole lead has been trimmed to just one yet Hannah Green is content with the round of 72 that kept her on top of the leaderboard at the LPGA Tour’s Palos Verdes Championship in California.
Two straight bogeys was not how the West Australian envisaged starting the third round, a third dropped shot at the par-3 sixth bringing a host of players back into the mix.
An eagle at the par-5 seventh returned Green to her position as outright leader only for the 25-year-old to give one back at the very next hole. Birdies at the ninth and 16th holes and another bogey at 12 rounded out a one-over 72 for a 54-hole total of eight-under and a one-shot lead over New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (70).
Fellow Australian Minjee Lee (72) is one of nine players sharing third spot at five-under with Sarah Kemp climbing into a tie for 12th with a third round of five-under 66 in which she had four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 16th.
Chasing a third LPGA Tour title and a first since 2019, Green said that the fluky wind contributed to a couple of positions from where making par was problematic.
“I got off to a horrendous start, I guess you could say,” Green said. “Just short-sided myself too many times so I was actually pretty happy with the 1-over score.
“Just hit a couple of funny wedge shots and also didn't read the lies and the wind direction. “You know there are some opportunities on this golf course, but you also know there are a couple tough holes. You just have to stay patient like every other golf course, but it's hard when Lydia is breathing down your back and there are so many good scores from earlier in the day.
“Not going to lie, probably be a little bit nervous tomorrow. It has been a while since I've won on this big of a stage. And having Lydia behind me and playing with her, it's going to be tough.
“She can close out tournaments and obviously has a lot of wins under her belt.
“Nerves are good. It means it's worth my time and it means something to me, so I'm just really excited to go out there.”
Green won both of her LPGA Tour titles in 2019, taking the major KPMG Women's PGA at Hazeltine and the Portland Classic. She was second behind Nasa Hataoka a week ago in the LA Open at Wilshire Country Club.
Ko shot a 70, also overcoming a bad start. The Kiwi had a double bogey on the par-4 second and a bogey on the par-4 fourth.
“I think I made it a little harder than it was,” Ko said. “But considering how I started, to finish under par for the day, upwards and onwards.”
The secondary Epson Tour is in Kansas for the Garden City Charity Classic where Karis Davidson leads the way for the Aussies.
Davidson shot two-under 70 in Saturday’s second round to be tied for eighth, five strokes behind American Gabriella Then.
Julienne Soo (T20), Robyn Choi (T26) and Grace Kim (T30) are the next best of the Aussies, hoping to make a surge up the leaderboard on Sunday.
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