Australia's Hannah Green Wins Women's PGA Championship
During its lengthy connection with major golf, Hazeltine National has crowned many a seemingly unlikely breakthrough winner, from Sandra Spuzich at the 1966 U.S Women's Open, to Rich Beem and Y.E. Yang, but Hannah Green's emotional and brilliant triumph in the Women's PGA Championship may have been the most unexpected of them all.
Ranked 114th in the world, the 22-year-old Australian from Perth had been winless on the LPGA Tour, with little evidence of encouraging from heading to Minnesota. However, that inexperience of the grandest stages wasn't evident at the end, when Green held her nerve to get up and down from a greenside bunker for a precious par to finish one ahead of defending champion Sung Hyun Park, who had birdied the 72nd to exert the pressure.
Daughter of a New Zealand father and Scottish mother, Green had remarkably led after each round of this championship, completing a wire-to-wire victory. She led by one after Thursday, three after Friday, and began Sunday one ahead of former world number one Ariya Jutanugarn. The Thai was the favourite with many observers, but a disappointing 77 removed one potential obstacle for Green.
With the 8th tee backed up, ?@hannahgreengolf? stops to read a poem that 7-year-old Lily Kostner of Minneapolis wrote especially for Green. Lily (far left) is a big fan after Green gave her a ball at the ANA. pic.twitter.com/Wpysow2vpP— Randall Mell (@RandallMellGC) June 23, 2019
Ultimately, a level par 72 was enough to secure the title, with Americans Nelly Korda and Lizette Salas unable to find that extra gear to push the leader. England's Melissa Reid surged up the leaderboard with a spectacular 66 earlier in the day to claim a tie for third place finish - her best in a major - but it was the mercurial Park who loomed ominously behind Green, who had to watch the Korean hole a lengthy putt on the last to sit just a shot back.
But Green was not to be denied, signalling jubilant scenes as friends, including the great Karrie Webb, ventured onto the green to celebrate with golf's newest major champion.
“I’m pretty much speechless,” said Green. “I was really nervous the last five holes and just really – I made a clutch putt and that was kind of got me through another one. To make the one on the last is really is surreal. Obviously I heard Sung made the last one, knew I needed to make par. Didn’t want to play that hole again [in a playoff]. I’m really happy I made it.”
So by some miracle I managed to capture the moment @Karrie_Webb embraced @hannahgreengolf after she had won @KPMGWomensPGA leading #wiretowire 22 yrs old what a stunning performance first Australian women’s major winner since Karrie Webb. Great moment @GettySport pic.twitter.com/SC6lfGQCEm— David Cannon (@Cannonball63) June 24, 2019
13 years had passed since the last of Webb's seven majors , and Australia may have finally unearthed an inspirational successor in Hannah Green.
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