Newsmakers of the month: Hannah Green and Grace Kim
LPGA Tour wins by Grace Kim and Hannah Green just two weeks apart were simultaneously expected and a complete surprise.
A graduate of the Epson Tour and playing in just her third tournament as a member of the LPGA Tour, Kim had to produce extraordinary golf under pressure to first force her way into a playoff at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii.
Birdies at the 17th and 18th holes completed a final round of four-under 68, a birdie from seven feet at the first playoff hole the latest step in a young career that has known nothing but success.
“I’m still speechless that it’s kind of done already and I got the job done,” said the 22-year-old.
It took something special, too, for Green to win the JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club.
A shock Major winner at the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship who backed it up with a second win later that season in Portland, Green was closing in on four years without an LPGA Tour title.
She needed to make a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to add her name to the playoff, a par at the second extra hole enough to end an emotional wait.
“It’s been a long few years,” Green admitted. “I was playing well last year but getting across the line’s been really difficult. I’m proud of myself. I’m really happy.”
Lucas Herbert: A self-proclaimed travel disaster prevented Herbert from playing a practice round, yet the Victorian produced a spectacular second shot at the second playoff hole to win his third DP World Tour title at the inaugural ISPS Handa Championship in Japan.
Mark Hensby: Almost 12 months after declaring he was quitting tour life, Hensby secured his future on the PGA Tour Champions with victory at the fourth playoff hole of the Invited Celebrity Classic in Texas.
Gabi Ruffels: Is one win from automatic promotion to the LPGA Tour after recording her second Epson Tour win of the season at the Garden City Charity Classic, breaking the tour’s 36-hole scoring record in the process.
Lachlan Barker: After regaining his card at qualifying school just weeks earlier, Barker won the season-opening PNG Open at Royal Port Moresby Golf Club. It secures his status on the PGA Tour of Australasia for the next two years.
Ann Jang: The 15-year-from New South Wales Golf Club took out the Australian Girls Junior Championship by four strokes, Kiwi Zack Swanwick winning the boys’ title also by four.
Seb Twaddell: With a last ball of 381 metres (417 yards), the Gold Coaster beat some of the biggest names on the World Long Drive circuit to win the Mesquite V2 championship in Nevada.
Maddison Hinson-Tolchard: The 21-year-old West Australian led her Oklahoma State University team to the Big 12 Championship in Dallas, winning her third individual title and becoming the first OSU player to record 50 par-or-better rounds during their collegiate career in the process.
TeeMates: Launched in conjunction with Youth on Course, TeeMates aims to provide opportunities for children under the age of 18 to play golf for a reduced rate in their own time, and in events with their peers.
Stephen Prior: Ten years after his first, Prior took out the Australian Amputee Open at Wanneroo Golf Club in Perth by 10 strokes.
NSW juniors: The team of Rebecca Zhao, Sophie Eppelstun, Ella Scaysbrook, Rachel Lee, Jake Riley, Chun-Ta Wu, Shashank Koirala and Riley Millers won the Australian Junior Interstate Teams Matches by just half a point from Queensland at Ulverstone Golf Club in Tasmania.
Lachlan Wood: The Hervey Bay PGA associate warmed up for the inaugural G4D Open in London by edging Cameron Pollard by a stroke to win the Queensland Inclusive Championship at Redcliffe.
He did what?
Little more than a year after posting a new course-record, 11-under 60, Southport Golf Club member Elvis Smylie went two better in the Tuesday comp on May 2. He had five birdies and an eagle to go out in seven-under par and added two more eagles and two birdies on the back for a 13-under 58 and 42 Stableford points off his plus-7 handicap. Unfortunately for Smylie, it was only good enough for second place behind 15-marker Fred Thomas.
getty images: harry how (green), sean m. haffey (kim)