01 Sep 2019 | Golf Australia |
Green cools, stays in title hunt
by Mark Hayes
It was almost inevitable that Hannah Green would cool off at the Cambia Portland Classic; thankfully she is well placed to rectify it.
Aussie Green, who set a 36-hole scoring record at Portland's Columbia Edgewater Country Club with rounds of 64-63 to sit 17 under before today's round three.
Sadly for her growing legion of fans, Green couldn't find the same silken touch on the greens today, dropping a shot on the last to card a 73 and fall three shots from the lead.
That mark is held by unheralded Californian Yealimi Noh, who, after Monday qualifying for the event, shot a stunning 64 today to set a new 54-hole scoring record of 19 under par.
“I was hoping for a good week, but to be in contention, I'm really excited,” said Noh, who turned professional in January at age 17.
“Yesterday ... I couldn't really sleep. I was excited to come out and try to move on moving day.”
Noh’s 64 was the low round of the day, with four birdies on each side. Her birdie at the par-3 second hole was the moment she pointed to as the force behind her successful round.
“After the first birdie, I can keep going but just getting that first one is, like, tough, when you're starting the round,” said Noh, who was also in contention at July’s Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, where she entered the final round one stroke off the lead and ultimately tied for sixth.
“So I was just really glad to start off with a birdie early in the round and it just kind of kept going throughout the front nine.”
Green followed her first two days' heroics with a lacklustre 73 despite making consecutive birdies at the fourth and fifth, hitting just 11 greens for her round.
The West Australian made three bogeys over her final 12 holes, taking her from five strokes ahead to three behind the red-hot Noh.
“The greens were a lot quicker, I think a lot quicker than the practice green and maybe that threw a few people off,” said Green, the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner.
“It certainly surprised me once I got out there, and I still found it really difficult, even towards the end of the round, to get the pace correct. But the pins, I didn't find too difficult. You could easily be on the wrong side of the pin, but I think just with it becoming a bit firmer and a little bit of wind made a huge difference today.”
Canadian Brooke Henderson and American Brittany Altomare are tied for third at -14.
Henderson is the last Monday qualifier to win an LPGA Tour event, a win that came at the 2015 Cambia Portland Classic and earned her LPGA Membership.
Noh would become the third Monday qualifier to win an LPGA Tour event, joining Henderson (2015 Cambia Portland Classic) and Laurel Kean (2000 State Farm LPGA Classic)
Noh would become the first 18-year-old to win since 2016, when Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson both won at age 18.
Of the other Aussies, Su Oh is T27 at seven under, while Robyn Choi is -1 and Sarah Kemp is +1.
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