17 Feb 2022 | Professional golf |

Green, Evans one clear at TPS Murray River

by PGA of Australia

Hannah Green and Andrew Evans

By Tony Webeck

Hannah Green has confirmed her status as the player to beat following a blistering start to her pursuit of history at the TPS Murray River tournament at Cobram Barooga Golf Club.

Being played in honour of Jarrod Lyle, elements of yellow were sprinkled throughout the golf course on Thursday but Green was the dominant force early on, making an eagle at the par-5 10th to start her round and racing out to six-under through six holes.

The prospect of a super low round loomed but the 25-year-old played her final 12 holes in one-under to post seven-under 64 and share top spot with 2021 Queensland Open champion Andrew Evans.

Rounds of six-under 65 by Sydney’s Austin Bautista and Queenslander Doug Klein led the afternoon wave to share third spot through round one followed a shot back by a group of five players at five-under, Andre Stolz, Hanee Song, Matt Millar, Cassie Porter and Hayden Webb all shooting 66 on the Old Course.

Seeking to become the first female winner of a Webex Players Series event, Green used her power to take full advantage of the scaled tees to give herself wedges into many of the par 4s.

“I was six-under through six so I was like, Oh wow, this could be a low one today,” said Green, who hit her approach shot into the 10th to 10-feet and drained the putt for eagle.

“It was kind of effortless which was nice. Hit a couple of stray tee shots and made a couple of bogeys but overall I’m pretty happy with my game.”

Making the turn in two-under, Bautista had five birdies in the space of eight holes to briefly join Green and Evans at seven-under, a bogey on his final hole after getting out of position off the tee a disappointing way to end an otherwise excellent round.

Conceding that some may question the scaled tees and the advantage that offers to the women in the field, Bautista instead pointed to the class of Green and the brief history of the concept as proof of a level playing field.

“A girl hasn’t won one of them yet but Hannah Green’s a great player, top 50 in the world,” said Bautista, the 2016 NSW Amateur champion.

“In the grand scheme of things, they don’t hit it as far and they don’t get the spin that we do so it makes sense.

“I played well and did what I wanted to do. Unfortunately I put myself in a tough position at 18 and made bogey so hate to finish like that but happy with the score today.”

Matt Millar also looked likely to challenge the leaders in the afternoon groups but, like Bautista, dropped a shot late to stall momentum and post five-under on day one.

A prolific winner on the adidas PGA Pro-Am Series circuit, Millar won the Murray Open prior to Christmas and if he puts himself in contention on Sunday expects to see Green also in the mix.

“It’s good for the tournament that Hannah has played well today,” said Millar, whose highlight was a hole-out from 96 metres for eagle at the par-4 13th.

“She’s obviously going to be right up there the whole way with the distance she hits the ball, the way that she plays and the experience she’s had.

“The way that she hits the ball, some of the par 5s would play pretty easy for her I would think but you’ve still got to get it in the hole.

“She’ll be there the whole way that’s for sure, it’s a golf course that’s going to suit a lot of straighter hitters.

“I expect a lot of the top ladies to be right at the top.”

Round 2 of TPS Murray River in honour of Jarrod Lyle will commence at 7.15am AEDT on Friday. Live scoring is available at pga.org.au or via the PGA of Australia app.

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