Photograph courtesy of LPGA
West Australian Hannah Green is just 36 holes away from achieving a lifelong dream as she heads into the weekend at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship with a three-shot lead, after following up her first round 68 with a second round 3 under par round of 69.
Green, who had only used her putter 23 times in her opening round was much more on song with her ball-striking in round 2, hitting 13 of the 18 greens in regulation and 12 of 14 fairways on Friday at Hazeltine, which was in stark comparison to her first round, when she missed eight fairways and hit only nine greens in regulation.
Green, in just her seventh start in a major championship, started her second round with a bogey at Hazeltine’s opening hole this morning, which was her first dropped shot of the Championship, and by the time she had completed her second round, it remained her lone blemish.
The 22-year-old carded 4 birdies at holes 2, 6, 8 and 14, although it was her unlikely par save at the 12th hole that stood out. After finding the water hazard with her second shot, Green pitched in from 54 yards out to avert disaster … for the second time in less than 24 hours.
“Yeah. I actually found water on my second shot, yes. I actually didn't even notice the hazard yesterday or in the practice round. I don't know what I was doing on that hole. But I knew there was a chance of it going into the hazard but I was pretty disciplined and obviously it went in there said to my caddy I need to get it close as possible.
“It's still quite a tough pitch shot. When it went in I just laughed because I guess with the hole-out on 7 yesterday and with the hole-out today, it's really going my way. Really nice to have that goal and obviously to keep it clean after the bogey on 1. So, yeah, just nice to at least be getting some luck on the course.
Green’s short game has been nothing short of immaculate over the first 2 rounds, she has successfully saved par on 13 of the 14 occasions when she has missed the green, a remarkable 93% conversion rate which is comfortably leading the field in that statistic.
Green said that she had felt she had lady luck on her side in the opening two rounds and that she was proud of the way she had handled the pressure today of leading a major championship,
“Yeah. I mean even when you play this type of golf and just a regular event you're pretty proud of yourself, but this week especially, I've never put myself in this position in any event so to be doing it this week at such a great venue definitely shows things are going the right way.
“I have had some luck going my way. I do hope that continues. This will be a big factor this weekend. I got to keep doing what I'm doing. I feel like I'm hitting the ball better to be more consistent this weekend.
Green, who is sharing a house this week with fellow Australians Karrie Webb and Su Oh said that despite Webb’s obvious disappointment at her opening round 79 she was still really happy for her protégé.
“I guess she was pretty upset with how she played. She was still very happy with how I did. We didn't really talk too much about golf once we got home. Kind of what I'd rather prefer.
“I think she kind of knows that I'd rather just talk about anything besides golf."
Green again paid tribute to her now good friend Webb on the influence she has had on her career so far,
“It's huge. When I first turned pro and played on Symetra, I was fortunate enough to win three times. The first win I had was early in the season. She was the first person that texted me to say congratulations. I know she's in the same time zone as my parents. I think the time zone back then was 12 hours.
“Still to have someone text you and say congratulations it's pretty cool. When even the good result in Australia, I always have messages from her. Even if we don't talk a lot about that, she's always happy to congratulate anyone and I mean I've stayed with her multiple times now, now that I'm a professional and not under that scholarship.
“It's really nice to be thought of she wants to like help me out and hang out for the week and I guess all the scholarship holders feel that way, all of us feel that we can reach out and message or call her, whenever we need help."
Green said her trip to the US Women’s Open in 2015 was the first time she had seen Webb play,
“That was my first time seeing Karrie play in-person. I have seen her play on TV multiple times. You never see what the shots are like in-person, especially that week there was a lot of long holes, just seeing her, how well -- how good she hits it.
“I think that's what she was pretty much known for in her career. Just how you see that in-person and for her to be in contention in the U.S. Open, that was even more amazing to see all the crowds and see how she handles herself.
“She never -- I don't know what it's like for other players. I probably didn't even ask enough questions at the time but I was more of an observer and seeing how she handles herself is probably more beneficial for me."
Green will start her third round at 12:45 local time alongside Thai star and former world number 1 Ariya Jutanagarn
Minjee Lee (four-over) and Su Oh (five-over) were the other Australians to make the cut.
Catch the third round action live from the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on Fox Sports Australia Channel 505 from 5am - 8am AEST Sunday.
Completed Round 2 scores
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