Hyo Joo Kim – Getty Images
West Australian Hannah Green continued her good recent form with a runner-up place finish at the HSBC Women’s World Championship event in Singapore but bogeys at her final two holes would prove costly for the 24-year-old.
Green had a one-shot lead with two holes to play but three putted the 17th then missed the green at the last and was unable to hole a 15 foot par saving putt to force a playoff.
Green had appeared to be treading water in her final round as powerful finishes were coming from the eventual winner, Hyo Joo Kim and recent major champion, Patty Tavatanakit, while Inbee Park was consolidating her position near the top of the leaderboard.
At the short par 4 14th however Green holed a pitch from 65 metres or so for eagle to re-join the lead and when she holed a 15 foot birdie putt at the 16th she had the lead outright ahead of Kim who had finished some 30 minutes earlier after a stunning round of 64.
Then came the dropped shots at 17 and 18, the 17th after leaving a lengthy first putt well short and the 18th after missing the green from a good drive. Her 3rd shot (a putt) from just off the green at the 18th raced past and she was unable to make the return.
For Green, however, the finish follows a 3rd place finish in Los Angeles last week and confirms the progress her game has made since working on adding distance.
Green has improved from 54th in 2020 to 9th this season in the distance stats category on the LPGA Tour.
“I felt like I wasn’t really playing that great even though the score was all right,” said Green. “So yeah, a bit bummed to finish that way. But you know, I guess I put myself in that position but hopefully it’s not the last time. Hopefully I can learn from it and do the opposite and maybe make two birdies coming in.
“I don’t want to sound obnoxious, but it is nice I’m not playing my best and getting these results. I’ve heard it’s a bit warmer in Thailand (next week’s venue) and a hillier course, so my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I make every round and make sure that I’m keeping hydrated. I feel like my driver was a little bit off this week, so if I can get that into gear, I feel like I can be up on top again.”
Referring to her hole out at the 14th Green said; “It’s funny, I was saying to my caddie, I finally hit a good drive on that hole and got it down to where I should be. And I had about 64 meters to the pin and all week I had not had a yardage from that distance and I was like, “Oh, I’d better take a five more practice swings. I haven’t had this yardage for a long time.
“And sure enough. I hole out and we just started giggling and laughing at each other. So I said, “Oh, maybe I should lay into that more often,” blah, blah, blah. So that was definitely a big momentum switch. I know that when I don’t play well, I kind of get in my own shell and stay away from everyone.
“So Nate (caddie) did a good job of trying to pick me back up and just start conversation. So I’m really happy with doing things on the golf course, so not long, not far away.”
It was Green’s 5th eagle of the season to be tied at the top with Nelly Korda in that category on the LPGA, reflecting the work she has been doing in adding distance to her game.
Hannah Green file photo – Bruce Young
For winner, Kim, this was her 4th LPGA Tour title, one of which was a win at the 20914 Evian Championship, one of the majors on the LPGA Tour.
After playing much of 2020 on the Korean LPGA Tour, where she won twice, Kim is pleased to be back on the LPGA Tour
“My goal this year was to get a win, and I’m glad I already achieved that. While I was playing on the KLPGA Tour last year, I honed my skills and wanted to adapt them to this year on the LPGA, and I’m very happy that these results came out.
“It’s not today’s round that I feel confident. I’ve been playing really well for the past couple days and months. I’m just trying to keep it as it is, and I’m feeling good.”
Inbee Park, Patty Tavanakit and China’s Xiyu Lin tied for third at 15 under par and three from the winner.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko was unable to build any momentum on the final day and finished tied for 7th, Australians Minjee Lee and Su Oh tied for 24th and Katherine Kirk was 28th.
The LPGA Tour now moves to Thailand for the Honda LPGA Thailand event.