Photograph courtesy of LPGA
West Australian Hannah Green is just one round away from fulfiling a lifelong dream of becoming just the third Australian woman to win a major championship, and the first since her good friend and mentor Karrie Webb won the ANA Inspiration back in 2006.
Green fired a third round 70 at Hazeltine National Golf Club today, and will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship tomorrow over Thai star, former world number 1 Ariya Jutanagarn.
Green is yet to win on the LPGA Tour and is playing in just her seventh major championship, but the 22-year-old is no stranger to holding up trophies on a Sunday afternoon having won 3 tournaments on the Symetra Tour in 2017 as a rookie.
The West Australian started the third round with a 3 shot lead over Jutanagarn who she was paired with, and it was no surprise to see the 2018 US Women’s Open champion put the early pressure on Green making 4 birdies in her opening 8 holes, eventually finishing with a superb 4-under par 68. Green also startled her third round in fine fashion making birdies at the 4th, 5th and 7th holes to make the turn in 35.
However hole Green dropped a shot at the par 3 13th, just her second bogey of the week and also finished disappointingly with her first three-putt of the week on the 18th hole to sign for a 2 under par round of 70.
When asked if nerves had played a part at all today Green said,
“Surprisingly I wasn't nervous on the first tee. Obviously, it's my first time in this position so I feel like I will be a little bit nervous come tomorrow 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.
“I wasn't really nervous over any shots. I was able to calm myself down but I was definitely disappointed with the putt on 16 and 18. I think that's when I was like okay, maybe there was a little bit of nerves in the putt or stroke.
“I have thought about the outcome tomorrow come the 18th hole. I think I just need to keep my cool and just have fun out there and embrace it.
“If it does come to me, winning tomorrow I want to make sure I remember it and have fun. I don't want to be miserable during the round.”
Green said that she felt that it was to her advantage that she had time to chat with LPGA Hall of Famer and seven time major winner Karrie Webb before her round today,
“She's unfortunately not playing this weekend so I was able to speak to her this morning before the round”
Green is sharing a house this week with boyfriend Jarryd Felton, Webb, Victorian Su Oh and Karrie Webb scholarship winners Becky Kay and Grace Kim, and the pair of youngsters have been very vocal cheering Green on from the sidelines.
When asked if the patriotic and enthusiastic support had been unnerving at all Green said,
“No, it's actually quite the opposite. Giving me a lot of good vibes having them out there. I mean I don't know if everyone has seen, you can easily see them when you're in a crowd. It's nice to see they're watching every hole and also just nice to look at them and see them smiling and laughing at me."
If Green can maintain her lead and claim victory on Sunday, she’d become just the third Australian woman to win a major championship (after Webb and Jan Stephenson) and also the third player to ever win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship wire-to-wire. Only two players have accomplished this to date, Yani Tseng in 2011 and Se Ri Pak in 1998.
While Green will be vying tomorrow for her maiden victory on the LPGA Tour, she faces a tough challenge being pursued by four past major champions, all of whom are within six shots of the lead: Ariya Jutanugarn (one shot back), Sung Hyun Park (five back), Inbee Park (six back) and Danielle Kang (six back).
American Lizette Salas and Nelly Korda at five-under par just four shots back and will also consider themselves in with a chance of winning tomorrow.
Of the other Australians to make the halfway cut Minjee Lee shot a 1-under par 71 to sit at +3, while Victorian Su Oh shot a 73 to be at +6.
Completed third round scores
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