03 May 2023 | Professional golf |

Green wants to use winning vibes for Australia

by Australian Golf Media

Hannah Green, Minjee Lee Crown image
Hannah Green and Minjee Lee pose with the San Francisco Giants' mascot ahead of the Crown this week. Photo: Getty

By Jim Tucker

Hannah Green is delighted to have conquered a mental hump and will channel her winner’s vibes into representing Australia with passion in San Francisco this week.

Last Sunday’s clutch playoff win on the LPGA Tour meant far more than breaking a four-year drought in the US because she feels it has freed her mind with a “kick-start” for a big 2023 to come.

Remembering how to win, a change to a negative post-shot habit, visiting a sports psychologist and “shaking like crazy” over her winning putt were all positives she wants to keep drawing on.

“I'm super excited. I said to my team and my caddie (Nate Blasko), I feel like once I get over the hurdle of having my third win that will just open doors,” Green said in Los Angeles.

“I was really nervous (towards the end of the final round). I hadn't been in that position for quite some time, especially in a playoff to win a tournament.

“So when I holed that four-footer (to win on the second extra hole), I felt like I was literally shaking like crazy and you could see it visually.”

The upbeat environment of team play comes next. She’s joined world No.6 Minjee Lee, Steph Kyriacou and Sarah Kemp in San Francisco for Thursday’s tee-off to the eight-nation Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown event.

For Green last Sunday’s play-off success at the JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club gave her the cheering crowd buzz she had so missed during the disrupted COVID years.

When she returned to defend her 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2020, crowds were shut out for health reasons from Aronimink Golf Club.

“I was so excited for 2020 and then obviously COVID happened, so it was really strange coming back to tournaments to defend with no spectators,” Green said.

“I mean, COVID was difficult for everyone. Probably coming from Australia, as well, it was quite difficult to adjust my schedule and not go back to Australia as much as I would have liked. I did three lots of hotel quarantine in those two years (2020-21) so I'm glad that's a thing of the past.”

Green had nine top 10 finishes on the LPGA Tour in 2022 so her game was close, just not crowned with a trophy.

A rare visit to one of the LPGA’s sports psychologists last week was a leap to break a habit and tweak her mindset.

“I just felt like I was kind of not really in the right place leading into this year because I haven't had a quick start like I have in other seasons. I just wanted to chat to someone who I haven't spoken to before and just make sure that I'm not overthinking things,” Green said.

“We kind of made a plan for a post-shot routine which paid off.

“When I'm not playing well, I tend to carry my golf club, whatever club that may be, off the tee, second shot, third shot, and I'll almost walk with it in my hand to the green. Straight away, I have to give it to my caddie because I don't do that (habit) when I hit a good shot, I give it to him straight away.

“It’s just training your brain to think differently (because) I felt a bit down and didn’t want that to go any further (after missing the cut in The Chevron Championship a week earlier).”

A win so soon after Grace Kim’s maiden LPGA Tour win has enthused the Australian team for the International Crown event at TPC Harding Park, the scene of Collin Morikawa’s 2020 PGA Championship triumph.

“Yeah, it's amazing. With Grace Kim winning earlier this year, I think it just motivates us to continue to try to win and represent Australia and do our best every week,” Green said.

“Kempy had a great week in LA. I think we’ve got a lot of potential in the group so we are all excited about San Francisco.”

Kemp’s best finish of the 2023 LPGA season pushed her into a tie for 13th after rounds of 70-68-71-71 for four-under.

The International Crown event is back on the calendar for the first time since South Korea’s 2018 victory. Three days of four-ball competition will peak on Sunday with morning semi-finals of singles and foursomes before the final is fought out with head-to-head singles matches.

Australia is in the tougher Pool B with Korea, Japan and Thailand. The US, Sweden, England and China make up Pool A.

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