04 Aug 2021 | Professional golf |

Unexpected twist in Green's Olympic medal quest

by PGA of Australia

Hannah Green tracking her ball.

By Tony Webeck

Hannah Green concedes there is a sense of uncertainty around her gold medal prospects after two weeks of hotel quarantine and the second-highest July rainfall in Perth’s history severely restricted her Olympic Games preparation.

Green and fellow West Australian Minjee Lee begin the women’s golf competition at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama on Wednesday morning, taking inspiration from Cameron Smith’s near miss in the men’s tournament in their pursuit of Australia’s first Olympic medal in golf.

A breakthrough major championship at the Evian Championship in her last start puts world No.7 Lee in the ideal of frame of mind to contend this week but Green has been working overtime with coach Ritchie Smith to rid herself of any of the rust that may have accumulated whilst at home in Perth.

The 24-year-old chose to return home from America to refresh and prepare for the Olympics and the second half of the LPGA Tour season but a near-record amount of rainfall in the WA capital in July turned her from range rat to couch potato.

“I had two weeks in a hotel and about two-and-a-half weeks back in my hometown, Perth. Unfortunately I didn’t get to play at all while I was home because the weather was so bad,” said Green, the monthly total of 271.4mm just 7.2mm short of Perth’s record July rainfall.

“That’s something I didn’t really factor in as we are usually pretty lucky in Australia.

“In those five weeks we have had winners on the PGA TOUR, European Tour and LPGA Tour so seeing everyone win really motivated me and I wanted to get back out here as soon as possible.

“I’m definitely motivated and I hope that I haven’t collected too much rust in these past five weeks.

“I’ve had some good prep back in Australia with my coach and he’s here this week. It’s really nice to have him here and I’m looking forward to get back and playing.”

Upon her arrival from Perth Green was able to spend some time on Sunday afternoon following Smith’s progress in the final round. The 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA champion completed her homework on the golf course on Monday but not before some team bonding with Team Australia that she believes she and Lee will both benefit from.

“I think that all of us kind of needed it, got us all in the spirit,” Green said of the Australian golf representatives and their teams sharing dinner together on Sunday night.

“Cam and ‘Leish’ (Marc Leishman) haven’t been to Australia in 18 months or so so I think for them to have a room full of Australians really helped them.

“I actually got to watch Cam come down the line and unfortunately he bogeyed the last to miss that seven-way playoff.

“I was practising while it was all happening and I think Rory (McIlroy) had a quote saying he’s never been so excited to finish third.

“It was obviously a great finish and congrats to CT Pan for knocking out six other players but we’ll see what happens this week. Hopefully Minjee and I can get a podium without any playoffs.”

Lee is the first of Aussie pair to tee off at 11.14am AEST on Wednesday alongside fellow major winners Patty Tavatanakit and Sophia Popov with Green to follow shortly afterwards at 11.36am in the group with American Danielle Kang and Korea’s Sei Young Kim.

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