21 Jun 2024 | Professional golf | Women and girls | Tournaments | Golf Australia |

Green makes good start at Women’s PGA Championship

by Jimmy Emanuel

Hannah Green

Hannah Green’s love affair with the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Pacific Northwest of the US continued today during the first round at Sahalee where she tops the eight-strong Australian contingent.

Out early alongside world No.1 Nelly Korda, who signed for 3-under to share second with Patty Tavatanakit one back of leader Lexi Thompson, Green opened with a 1-under 71 to sit in a tie for 15th after starting her day with a bang.

The 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA champion got underway on Thursday with back-to-back birdies after teeing off the 10th, where Green struck her 147-yard second shot inside 3-feet for the best imaginable start.

Bogey at the 14th and a third birdie at 16 saw the world No.5 make the turn in 2-under before recovering from two bogeys in the middle of her second nine at the final hole of the day.

Sitting even par, Green struck another pure iron shot from 177 yards at the par-3 ninth, where she rolled in a 16-foot birdie putt to be the lone Australian under par and well placed as she chases a third win in 2024.

Missing out on a win of her own in a play-off last week, Grace Kim is the next best of the Australians after opening with a 1-over 73 that was made better late in her round when the Sydneysider dropped a 35-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th to join a tie for 36th.

Similarly ending her day on a high, Steph Kyriacou birdied the par-5 18th to sign for an opening 2-over 74, with the 23-year-old alongside Gabi Ruffels and Minjee Lee in a share for 54th.

Ruffels looked set for another enjoyable day at the majors after making the turn in 1-under having started from the 10th before a rollercoaster five-hole stretch which included four bogeys and a birdie.

Opening her first round with a bogey, it was steady stuff around the ultra-narrow Sahalee for Lee, who entered as one of the pre-tournament favourites.

At 1-over through nine holes, the two-time major champion mixed two bogeys and a birdie at the par-3 13th after a trademark flushed iron to seven-feet to end the day 2-over and six back of Thompson, who is playing with freedom after announcing 2024 will be her last year playing full-time on the LPGA.

LPGA rookie Robyn Choi and veteran Sarah Kemp are the next best of the Australians sitting middle of the field following their first rounds of 75 to be 3-over and tied for 70th, with Kiwi Lydia Ko on the same score after a final hole birdie on her return to Sahalee where she lost in a play-off in 2016.

Making her tournament debut, Hira Naveed rounds out the Aussies after finishing the first day 10-over-par.

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is live on Fox Sports, available on Foxtel and Kayo.

Australasian Scores T15 Hannah Green -1 T36 Grace Kim +1 T54 Steph Kyriacou +2 T54 Gabi Ruffels +2 T54 Minjee Lee +2 T70 Lydia Ko +3 T70 Robyn Choi +3 T70 Sarah Kemp +3 T150 Hira Naveed +10

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