18 Sep 2022 | Professional golf |
Green one back despite late stumble in Portland
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
Hannah Green’s hope of playing in the last group on Sunday suffered a late blow but the West Australian remains just one back at the AmazingCre Portland Classic.
Green’s last victory on the LPGA Tour came at Columbia Edgewater Country Club three years ago and a third round of four-under 68 keeps her in the hunt at 12-under.
There is a three-way tie at the top at 13-under through 54 holes with Green one of four players in a share of fourth.
She will tee off alongside Maja Stark and Ayaka Furue in the third-to-last group on Sunday with the opportunity to play the role of hunter rather than hunted.
Four birdies in the space of six holes on the front nine saw Green make the turn at four-under. When her tee shot at the par-3 13th nestled close to the flag her subsequent birdie putt gave her the outright lead at 13-under.
As others joined the logjam at the top of the leaderboard, Green dropped a shot due to a three-putt at the par-4 17th, giving her a one-stroke deficit to make up on Sunday.
“I kind of like that I’m not going to be playing in the last group,” said Green.
“You can be aggressive at this golf course but it can also go the wrong way. Just picking your moments where you feel comfortable enough to do so.
“It’s a very bunched leaderboard so tomorrow it will be interesting to see whoever comes out on top.
“Whoever does win is going to have to shoot a low score otherwise it could very easily be a playoff with many people.
“Hopefully I can shoot a low one because I think six or seven-under is going to be needed.”
Trying to get the balance right between calling on good memories and playing the golf course as it is presented in 2022, Green said it was a familiar putt early in her round that provided the impetus to her strong start on the front nine.
“I made a good putt on the third hole – I holed like a 25-footer – and in 2019 I holed a very similar putt to the same pin,” she added.
“All of us played really well on the front nine. That’s the scoring nine with two reachable par 5s and a couple of short holes where we have wedges in.
“Got off to a great start and just wanted to hold on on the back nine.”
Grace Kim, too, will start the final round on the Epson Tour with a small deficit to make up, two shots from the lead at the Guardian Championship in Alabama.
A winner earlier this year and currently fourth in the Race to the Card standings, a second victory would guarantee Kim’s promotion to the LPGA Tour in 2023.
Starting the day two-under, Kim played the back nine first and turned four-under for the championship despite a bogey on the par-4 18th.
She bounced back with a birdie at one and added three more at four, six and seven for a six-under 66 and tie for second, two shots behind Puerto Rican Maria Torres (66).
Twelfth on the Order of Merit, Gabriela Ruffels (68) can move towards an LPGA Tour card if she can improve her position of 10th on the leaderboard, making a late move on Saturday courtesy of two closing birdies.
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