West Australian Hannah Green shot a superb opening round 4 under par 68 the KPMG Women's PGA Championshipat Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minneapolis, and will take a one shot lead over Hyo Joo Kim and Mel Reid (69s) into tomorrow's second round.
Green, the No. 114 player in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings was delighted with her start to the tournament, especially after hitting just 6 of 14 fairways, and 9 of 14 greens in regulation.
The 22-year-old Green, who is searching for her first LPGA victory this week played bogey-free golf by converting all nine of her scrambling situations and required just 23 putts, including 11 one-putts.
Green started her round today teeing off from Hazeltine National's 10th tee, and was quickly into her stride with a birdie at the 11th hole hitting a 7-iron for her third shot into the long par 5,
" When I was playing the practice rounds I had 80 yards less in, so for me to hit a 7-iron was a lot different.
"I feel like the other holes I played in the practice rounds I never really had the same club in. Yeah, very different playing this type of wind and obviously with the wet conditions.
"That's when the rain just came in and also it was still a little bit breezy. Didn't really have like any near the yardage as what I had been hitting into in the practice round. I holed about a 20-foot putt. That's where I -- even on my 10th hole I holed like a 15 putt for par and 20-footer on the next hole. I really had the putter rolling.
"It was really nice to have that. I guess I had 23 putts which is good. I putted but maybe not as well hitting greens and fairways. Yeah, that start I guess it was really good momentum for the rest of the round and made some solid putts for birdie. Holed a 6-footer on 16 and holed like a 12, 15-footer on 3 and then obviously holed out on 7." Green said speaking of a bunker shot she had holed after missing the green from the rough with a pitching wedge.
"I short-sided myself but I knew -- actually had a really good lie which I think made a huge difference for me being able to -- yes, to hole it but even keep it near the pin.
"And, yes, as soon as it landed on the green I knew there was a chance of it going in. I guess I just had a lot of luck today with putts going in and getting good bounces. That was one of them. Really nice to stay bogey-free and even just to hole it."
Green said that her putter had been red hot all day when asked how many putts she had made today,
"Pretty much all -- I don't really think I ever had like a tap-in putt for my par putts when I missed the green. Nearly every hole was a 6-footer. I made all of them. Very happy with that, obviously."
The 22-year old however did have her struggles with the weather during her afternoon round, and was not prepared for the persistent rain and strong winds which came in just as she was heading onto the course,
“I didn't own a pair of rain pants. That was difficult. I only brought one jacket and I was freezing cold. My caddy and I both really weren't prepared for the rain,” Green told media after her round.
“Luckily my boyfriend [Jarryd Felton] was able to run home and get a jacket for me to put on, which definitely helped. I think we'll be investing in some rain pants!
"There was a staff member from the course coming out with towels, otherwise I don't know if I would have been able to keep hold of the club. But yeah, it was really tough."
Despite the inclement weather, Green, a former Karrie Webb Series winner herself was enthusiastically followed around the course today by 2019 Series recipients Grace Kim and Rebecca Kay, which certainly seemed to keep her smiling throughout the afternoon,
"I can't say I ever wore a Moxie or a tutu like the girls did this year. My first year at Lancaster, I think Karrie was maybe leading after the 1st Round and that was my first time going into the Media Center and seeing interviews and stuff liker that. That was a real eye opener for me and I guess it's pretty cool now to be doing that today.
"To see a U.S. Open straight out was really I guess a big step for me and definitely pushed me to want to be out here on Tour, and having Karrie still out here playing, playing practice round with her it's really cool. Very lucky to have a really good friend now."
Green is enjoying the experience of being on the other side of the ropes this week and is sharing a house with Webb, Kay and Kim,
"Actually a house of 8 this week. So it's really cool. All except one is an Australian. Really nice.
"We're really comfortable with each other but yeah, it is kind of crazy that I was there four, five years ago in that position and outside the ropes walking and watching and seeing all these players and especially -- yeah, it's really surreal, I guess."
The group is keeping themselves busy working together on a 2000 piece puzzle in their house this week,
"Sue Oh and I decided to do that this week and we actually completed it. We've got an Aussie barbeque on Saturday. It's kind of a good thing we completed it."
Green said she also took inspiration from fellow Australian Ash Barty's win at the French Open 2 weeks ago,
"It's awesome. Unfortunately I don't follow a lot of sport but when I was on Twitter it was everywhere. It's really cool to see her get to World No. 2 and Minjee. It's really motivating to see us girls from Australia doing really well and Karrie had a great career and lots of the other Aussies are doing well. We had a great week last week. I want to have my name up there, too."
Green will start her second round at 8:35am local time.
Of the other Australian players in the field this week Minjee Lee and Su Oh are the next best after both shot 2-over-par rounds of 74.
Also starting on the 10th, Lee was 4-over par early after back-to-back bogeys on her 4th and 5th holes, but fought bravely on her back nine rattling off birdies at seven and eight to stay within six of leader and fellow West Australian Green.
After a runner-up finish on the LPGA Tour last week Su Oh came into this event brimming with confidence, the Victorian's round which contained 4 birdies and an eagle somewhat resembled a roller-coaster ride but like Lee she is still well within striking distance with three rounds left over the testing Hazeltine National layout.
Katherine Kirk (78), Karrie Webb (79), Sarah Kemp (79) and Wendy Doolan (86) all struggled on day one and will need to produce something special to make the weekend.
Watch all of the action live on Fox Sports Australia channel 503 from 8:00 am Saturday.
Completed round 1 scores
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