Hannah Green – file photo

Defending champion Hannah Green improved 13 shots on her opening round of 79 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the Aronimink Golf Club in Philadelphia, adding a 4 under 66 to jump a massive 79 places, the West Australian now tied for 46th in the third major championship of the year for women’s golf.

Green produced a closing nine of 31 after being under pressure just to make the cut early in her round and as many as three shots out of the eventual cut-line through nine holes.

Green, whose victory in the event twelve months ago was the first of two victories to date on the LPGA Tour, is now nine shots out of the lead and while the chances of her retaining her title appear slim she has shown that a low score is possible on the demanding Donald Ross designed layout.

A repeat of what she produced today over the final two rounds might see her very close to the lead at the completion of 72 holes but that appears easier said than done.

Sei Young Kim emerged as the 36 hole leader late in the day when she added a second round of 65 to move one ahead of a group of four in second place while New Zealander Lydia Ko heads those from down under, just two from the lead.

Minjee Lee heads the Australians at 4 over and one ahead of Green while Katherine Kirk also made the cut on the mark of 6 over.