Hannah Green – file photo – Bruce Young
Perth’s Hannah Green has saved her best to last in 2020, a final round of 67 allowing her to finish in a share of second place at the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples in Florida and, in doing so, earns a cheque for US$209,000.
Adding to the celebration of the day was that it was Green’s 24th birthday so she heads back to her homeland this week in good spirits after a very disjointed year.
Green did not play a tournament between February and August and in the events since her return in August she has been below her best although there had been signs of the work she had been doing during the year was taking effect.
“Yeah, felt like I did some good work through quarantine with my coach,” said Green. “Gained some distance, so that really was nice to actually come out and see it in a tournament.”
It was Green’s 14th start of the 2020 LPGA Tour season and just her first top ten in that time but the manner in which she contended against such a strong field augurs well for her return to tournament golf in March.
Green has made the decision to return to Australia on Tuesday, although she must face two week quarantine period before seeing her family and friends she feels the need to spend time with and recharge the batteries. It is a decision which will mean missing the season opening Tournament of Champions in late January.
“Unfortunately, I’m not playing the Tournament of Champions. I’ve decided to stay in Australia because I haven’t been there since August. I felt like pretty much two weeks wasn’t going to be enough time at home.
“So I will be returning for Kia Classic in March. I’m super excited to get back. I’m leaving on Tuesday, arriving to Australia on Thursday, so I’ll be there for just under three months.
“I wish there was an event next week because I finally do feel like everything is coming together, but then again, I do want to get back to Australia.
“Best finish all year. First time broken the top 10. Super excited. It’s nice to finish on a high and be able to go home and eventually celebrate.”
Green finished five shots behind the runaway winner and world number one, Jin Young Ko. Ko has spent most of her year in South Korea, but she has continued to play well all the same recording four top tens in six starts there.
Hannah Green this week – photo Getty Images Michael Reeve
Today, Ko won US$1.1 million a massive $900,000 more then the joint runners-up.
Because of her time away from the LPGA Tour this year she was under pressure to make the field for this week’s event until a fine runner-up finish at recent US Women’s Open. As a result of her win today Ko has extended her world ranking lead over Sei Young Kim who finished joint runner-up with Green this week.
New Zealander Lydia Ko continued her recent improvement to finish in a share of 5th place, Minjee Lee struggled to a final round of 74 but still finished tied for 13th, Katherine Kirk was 23rd and Sarah Kemp 53rd.
Minjee Lee finishes the season as the leading Australasian in the world rankings in 8th place with Lydia Ko the next best in around 30th place.
The five shot winner Jin Young Ko