Hannah Green has punched her LPGA Tour ticket with an emphatic Symetra Tour victory in Arkansas.
The rising West Australian star broke the Mystic Creek course record with a bogey-free, eight-under-par 64 to win by a shot at 11-under, setting a three-day tournament record total of 205.
Green’s stunning round not only won the El Dorado Shootout by a shot over Frenchwoman Celine Boutier, but it also put her fourth on the “Road to the LPGA” rankings with enough money to ensure a top-10 season finish and earn her 2018 card for the main tour with three events left this season.
Two weeks ago, after a break at home in Perth, Green wrote the letters “LPGA” with a smiley face on her golf glove as a constant reminder of her goal.
And in a blur of final-round birdies with her father Tau as caddie, it all became reality in a hurry.
“There are a lot of girls behind me performing well, so I wanted to make sure I was staying on top of my game and didn’t get knocked out (of the top-10),” said Green, who picked up her ninth top-10 finish of her rookie year. “To win this week is really great and it sets me up for next year.
“It was great to have a win with Dad on the bag,” said the Golf Australia rookie squad member, who called her mother before the trophy ceremony and talked to her at 3:30am, Perth time. “I’m sure it’s a moment he won’t ever stop telling his friends about.”
The 20-year-old started the day in a tie for fourth and seven shots off the lead. The Mt Lawley member made birdies on holes one, four, five and seven on the front nine to move into contention at seven-under, but was still three shots off the pace of 36-hole leader Dottie Ardina.
Green made birdies on holes 11 and 12 to move into a four-way share of the lead with Boutier, Ardina and Charlotte Thomas. But two more birdies on 15 and 17 enabled the West Australian to take command.
“Obviously I’m really happy and excited, but it doesn’t feel real quite yet,” said Green, who won the Sara Bay Classic earlier this season. “I’m really pleased with how today turned out and I’m glad I shot a really good score to get the win.”
The 64 ties her best score as a pro, matching her final round at the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic in Rochester. Green hit 17 of 18 fairways and 12 of 14 greens in regulation and had just 28 putts.
“My ball striking was definitely there today. Going bogey-free on this course means everything tied together today, which was great.”
Green reflected on a plan she set when she finished high school in Perth.
“I set a plan and I wasn’t going to college in the US or studying in Australia, I just said that I was turning professional and I wanted to be on the LPGA,” Green said. “I’ve been dreaming about this for at least four years so to have it come true is awesome.”
Green is a two-time recipient of the Karrie Webb Scholarship and has had the chance to develop a friendship with the Aussie legend. Webb was one of the first people to congratulate Green on social media after the win.
“She has been such a big supporter, not only to my golf, but a lot of female golfers in Australia,” Green said. “I got to go to the US Open with her and those are amazing experiences. I would have never been able to go to a Major unless I was playing. She is just awesome and to have her as a close friend is really cool.”
In addition to the $US15,000 winner’s cheque, Green was also presented with a diamond bracelet valued at $US10,000, courtesy of Murphy-Pritard Jewelers.