Golf Australia

Green stares down triumph at Hazeltine

Hannah Green
Hannah Green watches her tee ball fly at the 14th today. Image: Getty

Hannah Green potentially stands a day away from a monumental triumph, aiming to become the first Australian major winner since Jason Day’s PGA championship win in 2015.

The 22-year-old Perth star held firm for a third consecutive day at the top of the leaderboard in the women’s third major of the season, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Minneapolis today.

It is an extraordinary performance thus far by a player who – notwithstanding three wins on the secondary Symetra Tour in 2017 – has never won a main tour event let alone a major.

She is ranked 114th in the world and her best-ever finish in an LPGA event is third at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in 2018.

But the delightful Green, a universally-popular soul who graduated from Golf Western Australia’s elite amateur programs and Mt Lawley Golf Club, has looked very much like she belongs.

“Obviously it's my first time in this position so I feel like I will be a little bit nervous come tomorrow,’’ said Green after her round. “But I think when I have more time to wait in between shots that's when I started to feel the nerves and I was like, okay, my heart is beating. I think I need to just slow things down and take my time and make sure I'm not rushing into any shots.’’

Playing on a long course that has played tough for almost everyone in the field, Green plotted her way around in two-under par 70 today after 68 and 69 on the first two days.

Testament to the way she has scrambled – and in particular, putted – is the fact she has made just three bogeys all week.

While in her self-deprecating way Green has acknowledged that she has been lucky (with hole-outs from off the green on both the opening two days) she has understated the quality of her play.

Green is at nine-under par overall, a shot ahead of Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn.

American Lizette Salas and Nelly Korda at five-under are most likely the only other players who have a chance of winning tomorrow, although Sung Hyun Park and Sei Young Kim at four-under will fancy themselves. But really, it is down to Green and her nerves.

The Golf Australia rookie squad member duelled all day with Jutanugarn, a player who has won two majors, climbed to No. 1 in the world and twice been the tour’s player of the year.

Each time Jutanugarn challenged, Green answered.

Starting out three shots ahead, the Australian at the fourth, fifth and seventh holes – the one at the fifth from long range. A poor chip at the par-four 13th hole led to a bogey, but Jutanugarn also dropped a shot at the same hole. Then at the par-five 15th, after Jutanugarn bombed her second shot on to the green to set up birdie, Green laid up and then wedged in close, calmly rolling in her own birdie to keep the lead a two shots.

At the 16th, Jutanugarn flared her tee shot into a hazard and dropped a shot; Green wedged in close again, narrowly missed birdie, but picked up a shot on her main rival. The final act was for Jutanugarn to birdie the 17th and then for Green to drop a shot with three putts (her first all week) at the 18th so that it ended at just one shot the difference.

Only two Australian women – Karrie Webb and Jan Stephenson – have won majors. Webb won the last of her seven in 2006 but has been a mentor of Green’s, the latter having been part of the Karrie Webb scholarship squad through Golf Australia. They are staying in the same house along with a bunch of antipodean players and supporters.

It could be quite a party tomorrow if Green can go wire-to-wire, and Webb has already counselled her to embrace the moment tomorrow. 

“I think I just need to keep my cool and just have fun out there and embrace it,’’ said Green. “If it does come to me winning I want to make sure I remember and have fun. I don't want to be miserable and sick during the round!”

JASON DAY is the leading Australian at the US PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship through three rounds. After a 68 today, Day is nine-under, seven shots from the lead in a tie for fourth.

 

KPMG WOMEN’S PGA

-9 Hannah Green (AUS)

-8 Ariya Jutanugarn (Thai)

-5 Nelly Korda, Lyzette Salas (US)

-4 Sei Young Kim, Sung Hyun Park (Sth Korea)

 

NOTE:

Catch the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship live and on demand on Kayo. Sign in or subscribe for a 14-day free trial using this link: https://bit.ly/2wu1edA


Comments

Posted by Lyn at
23/06/2019 10:25 AM
Good luck Hannah. We will be watching with all of our best wishes and fingers crossed. We know you can do it!

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