28 Nov 2022 | Australian Open |
Green welcomes competition from LPGA stars
by Dane Heverin
Hannah Green has welcomed the challenge of vying for national supremacy with US Women’s Open champion Minjee Lee and a host of LPGA stars at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open at Victoria and Kingston Heath golf clubs this week.
Green, 25, returned home to Australian shores last summer, triumphing at the Vic Open and TPS Murray River in her only two starts of the season, but this time around she is buoyed by the presences of Lee, AIG Women’s Open champion Ashleigh Buhai, The Chevron Championship winner Jennifer Kupcho and a strong group of her other colleagues.
“There are lots of players out here that can lift that trophy. It’s great. As much as I love the attention at home, I want the competition too,” Green said.
The West Australian created global headlines in February when she became the first woman to win a professional, 72-hole mixed gender event at TPS Murray River and she followed that up with a very consistent LPGA season which included nine top-ten finishes.
She was unable to get over the line for a win however, and the desire to bookend her year with victories has kept the 2019 KPMG Women’s Championship winner highly motivated while other LPGA stars looked forward to putting their feet up.
“I felt like if I did (reflect on the LPGA season) I’d be in a mindset that I don’t have one more event left,” Green said.
“At CME a lot of girls were like ‘yep, last round of the year’ and I was like ‘I’ve still got one more event I really want to push for’. I haven’t really thought about (my season) too much but my coach Ritchie (Smith) set a goal of under 70 for my scoring average and I ticked that off.
“That was kind of nice to hear but I’m looking forward to digging into the stats in the next couple of months and finding out what really was the difference this year.”
Getting her hands on the Patricia Bridges Bowl has been a massive goal for Green for a long time now as she strives to join the likes of her idol, and five-time champion, Karrie Webb on the trophy.
“My first Australian Open was at Grange when I was an amateur and I came top-20,” she said.
“Since then I’ve had some good results. I had a third place finish a few years ago. I feel like it's such a hard trophy to win here at home but it’s definitely one I’m looking forward to and I’ll try and get my hands on it this week.”
The week ahead is also extra special for Green as she has the chance to play on the same course, at the same time, as her fiance Jarryd Felton.
The pair have done so previously at the Vic Open and at TPS Murray River, but Green said she is very excited to have the chance to be together at a national Open.
She also said she has hopes to be a part of more events where the men and women are playing together in the future, and she is eager to see more stars of the women’s game come to Australia.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Women’s Australian Open had been co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour since 2012 and Green feels as if the success of this week’s event could entice the premier women’s tour to return to our shores.
“I would love to see a full LPGA field,” she said. “Whether that logistically happens, I’m not really sure. I don’t know how those things work but I’d love to see them back.
“I know from a player's point of view that they want to come back to Australia. They love it here. Yes it is far away but if the schedule worked, people would come.”
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