South Korean Kim Hyo-joo grabbed a one-shot clubhouse lead at the Women's PGA Championship in Chaska, Minnesota on Thursday as Michelle Wie endured a rough return to competition.
Hannah Green keeps getting out of tough spots, and it's taken her to a place she has never been.
Inspired by her visit to Lancaster Country Club in 2015, Green turned pro a year later and on Sunday claimed her first LPGA Tour victory, joining Webb (seven titles) and Jan Stephenson (three) as Australian women's major winners in the process.
Green becomes the 11th player to win the last 11 majors on the LPGA Tour, a sign of growing parity. Now she's a major champion.
Thursday's 71 was Lydia Ko's best first round since late April, when she carded an opening 70 in the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open.
"Even when you play this type of golf at just a regular event, you're pretty proud of yourself, but this week especially", Green said.
"I probably wasn't in the right headspace for that". "I went into the locker room and saw my picture with a label that said 2018 defending champion and I actually took a picture of that, and then coming into the parking space with my name". "And so now I just want to continue playing well".
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Green was at 7-under 137. That made the results at Hazeltine all the more special for Webb, who missed the cut herself with a 6-over par 150 through the first two rounds. She started the final round with a one-shot lead over Ariya Jutanugarn, the most powerful player on tour and a two-time major champion. Her highest score on any tour was an 85 at the CJ Nine Bridges Classic in 2004 when she was 14. His 15-foot birdie putt on 18 put him at 12 under.
"If I landed it too far there was a possibility of it going over the back".
"She just tells me. you need to take it while you can", Green had said after the third round. "I had to land it perfectly and I guess I did". I think it was ideal. "I made all of them". I just heard the crowd roar.
"I really didn't want to play that hole again, so I'm just really happy that I made it".
Sung Hyun Park of South Korea hopes to defend the title she won over compatriot So Yeon Ryu in Chicago a year ago in a two-hole playoff. She stayed with Green in a house all week, along with the two most recent scholarship winners - Becky Kay and Grace Kim - who were draped in Australian flags at Hazeltine. She followed with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 11th, which played so long in these conditions - 557 yards - that she had 7-iron for her third shot.
She buried the putt for her first-ever win on the LPGA Tour, a surprising triumph to many because she was previously winless on the main tour and ranked 114th in the world.
Kay and Kim were guests at the tournament, amateur golfers who were awarded previous year the scholarships from Webb's development program for Australian women that she created in 2007.
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Inbee Park, who won the tournament three consecutive years from 2013-15, and American Lexi Thompson, who has three consecutive top-two finishes including a one-stroke victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, both finished with par 72s.
Green has been staying with Webb in a rented house this week in a handsome baton change for Aussie golf. She wasn't even playing golf when Webb was winning five out of eight majors, giving her the career Grand Slam at the quickest rate.
Green didn't have wet weather gear when she teed off Thursday at Hazeltine as it started to rain - she doesn't like rain trousers, anyway, because they make too much noise.
When asked how she planned to balance her happiness to be back against the reality of her injury, Wie admitted that it is a hard thing to do. She had Greg Norman as her idol and had a similar scholarship.
"I thought it was going to come much later in the day after nine holes.
She won't realize until she wakes up tomorrow morning", said the Queenslander.
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