West Australian star Hannah Green showed that her win at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship back in June was far from a one-off, after she survived a back-nine battle with Monday qualifier Yealimi Noh to win the Cambia Portland Classic today.
Green had led by 5 shots after 36 holes after she had backed up an opening 64 with a 9 under par 63, a 36-hole mark only bettered in LPGA history by Annika Sorenstam when she became the first woman to shoot 59 in the second round of the Standard Register PING in Phoenix.
Green’s superb opening two rounds were always going to be difficult to follow up, and the 22-year-came back to earth shooting a disappointing third round 73.
In a way Green’s third round may have been a help rather than a hindrance, with the pressure now squarely back on rookie Noh, as she now held a three-shot lead looking to become just the third player in the history of the LPGA tour to Monday qualify for a tournament and go on to win.
Both Green and Noh started the final day solidly, Green was on the front foot early with birdies at the third, fifth and seventh holes, while Noh also birdied the third and seventh holes but made a bogey at the par 4 5th hole.
However the 18-year-old showed her class heading into the back nine making birdies at the 12th and 14th holes to open up a three-shot lead over Green, who made a bogey at the eleventh before bouncing back with a birdie of her own at 14th to keep in touch with the lead.
When the two players walked on to the green at the par 4 15th hole, Noh had a putt from 5 metres to open up 4 shot lead, but in what was one of the turning points of the final round she missed her putt and after Green holed her own birdie putt from 4 metres the gap was reduced to just 2 shots.
At the difficult par 3 16th hole, Noh missed the green short while the Australian safely found the putting surface. Noh responded by hitting a superb pitch shot to just over a metre, and after Green missed her birdie attempt from 4 metres Noh had her par putt to take a 2 shot lead into the final two holes.
In what was the first sign of any nerves from the youngster, Noh missed her par putt and the lead was reduced to just a single shot.
On the tricky dogleg par 4 17th hole both players found the putting surface in regulation, but it was Green again who showed her experience and determination by holing her tricky downhill birdie putt from 6 metres to square things up with just one hole to play at 20-under par.
Green’s tee shot on 18 hugged the left side of the fairway, while Noh found the right fairway bunker before blasting her second shot over the green almost into the grandstand.
Meanwhile, Green, playing her second shot over the water from a difficult angle just missed the green long also, leaving herself a downhill putt for birdie from 10 metres.
When Noh made a mess of her pitch shot from over the green and then missed her long par putt, it looked like the Australian would cruise to victory, however Green left her birdie putt from just off the fringe two metres short of the hole to leave a knee-knocker for victory.
Green, who is renowned for her calmness under pressure showed what she is made of by calmy rolling in the tricky downhill putt for a final round 5-under par 67 and her second LPGA win.
Green's win this week came after missing the cut last week at the Canadian Open, coincidentally her breakthrough win at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship also came fresh off missing the cut the previous week.
The Aussie credited her calm personality and ability to move past those bad moments as keys to her new-found career success. The fact that she really likes Portland doesn’t hurt either.
“I guess I'm pretty good about not dwelling on past results, which is obviously really key in this type of job I guess,” said Green, who said she’s eaten out every night, enjoying Portland’s famed food scene. “Yeah, I actually really enjoy Portland, as well. So pretty much not really thought about golf once I leave the golf course, which I think is really important, too.”
With her win, Green earns 500 points and is projected to move from 27th to 12th in the Race to the CME Globe with 1,562 points
With her win, Green earns U$195,000; she has earned $$979,519 for the season and U$1,223,993in career earnings.
Of the other Australians to make it through to the weekend, Su Oh finished in a tie for 15th, Robyn Choi was tied 63th while Sarah Kemp tied for 67th.
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