114th ranked Hannah Green triumphed in the Women’s PGA Championship to claim a maiden major title in what was also her first victory at LPGA level. Green, 22, was engulfed by a clutch of Australian golfers (both rising stars and legends, including Karrie Webb) on the 18th green at the historic Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minneapolis.
Elsewhere this week American Chez Reavie said good riddance to an 11-year losing run on the PGA Tour and there was a playoff win in Germany for Andrea Pavan over Matt Fitzpatrick.
There was no boulevard of broken dreams at Hazeltine as Green’s historic triumph was only the third time the Women’s PGA winner has gone wire-to-wire after Green fired an opening round four under 68 before finishing at 9 under one clear of 2018 Womens’s PGA victor Sung Hyun-Park.
Park birdied the last on Sunday to put Perth native Green under pressure. Green’s key moments came when she birdied 16 before a great up-and-down from the bunker on 18 gave her the one-shot win. The first round effort was of particular note given the wet conditions and Green admitted afterwards she wasn’t prepared for the round properly with not enough wet weather gear. Her boyfriend two-time Australasian PGA Tour winner Jarryd Felton was dispatched to pick up some more appropriate clothing as the tournament rolled on.
Despite her three prior wins on the second-tier Symetra Tour Green’s previous best LPGA result was T10 in February’s Australian Open and this is only her second year on the LPGA Tour.
Green joins Jan Stephenson and Karrie Webb in elite company as the only Australian LPGA major winners, the last of those came in 2006 when Webb won the Kraft Nabisco Championship – now known as the ANA Inspiration. Green’s career gets a huge boost with a two-year exemption for the LPGA Tour and the winner’s checque of USD577,000 adds to her career prizemoney which was previously USD360,000.
Greens in regulation
Aside from the action in Minnesota the PGA Tour saw victory this week for Chez Reavie who prevailed at 17 under to win the Travelers Championship in comprehensive fashion at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut by four strokes over Zach Sucher and major winner Keegan Bradley. Reavie’s only other PGA victory was in the 2008 Canadian Open but he does have two second-tier Korn Ferry (formerly webdotcom) Tour triumphs in 2007 and 2015.
In Germany it was drama aplenty with both Matt Fitzpatrick and Andrea Pavan picking up birdies on the the last in the BMW International, Fitzpatrick doing so after having an eagle putt for a win in regulation. Pavan won at the second playoff hole with the result his second win on the ET after his 2018 Czech Masters triumph and has pushed him inside the top 100 to 83 in the world.
This week the European Tour heads to Spain giving hope for a form turnaround for tournament host Sergio Garcia at Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Sotogrande.
Interestingly the men’s tour heads to the same area of the states the LPGA was for the first Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit which is the first PGA Tour event in the motor city.
Whilst the LPGA this week heads to Arkansas for the Arkansas Championship to be staged in Rogers, famed for been home to the first of the meganormous Walmart stores who are sponsoring the event.
During coverage of the BMW International on Thursday I was puzzled for a brief period when I noticed a raft of local fans dressed in lederhosen or dirndl enjoying the action in Munich. Linked to a local holiday those fans got free entry for wearing their traditional dress on the day. A great idea and something other tournaments could embrace. So, this begs the question as to what golfing events should also offer this deal and what counts a ‘traditional’ clothing at some of these venues? Hawaiian shirts at the Sony Open would be a slam dunk, but what about the Australian Open. Answers on a postcard…
Not to be outdone in the fan engagement field the tournament organisers in Minneapolis had an array of great initiatives at the Women’s PGA with kids-only sections so the young fans could get an unimpeded view of the action and tournament winner Green herself set the standard when, heading to the back nine she took the time to pay attention to a child who had given her a poem to read before continuing on to win the third women’s major of 2019. Go Hannah with that sort of fan engagement golf viewers and general sports fans won’t be saying ‘whatsername’ for too much longer.
Arkansas Championship – Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers, Arkansas
The defending champion here finished T14 in Minnesota with a final round of 65 which was the best round of the tournament.
Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit Golf Club
Despite only one major win Johnson regularly bullies fields into submission wining at leats three tournaments a year since 2016, and he’s won twice this year already with 14 other podium finishes in that period. Word is he’ll go well at this track.
The world number 14 has been ‘meh’ in majors and really should have more tour victories overall but he’s won this year in Phoenix and after missing last week might have targeted this after failing to bother the field at the US open finishing T43 despite starting with a 66.
The Canadian has not featured in the majors this season but has two top 14 finished since May, he blew out the back door to finish T51 in Connecticut after going 64 then 74 before a steady weekend of 69 and 71. Using the same logic as the Fowler pick he’s got some recent low rounds to his credit which have merit.
Feb 13: Nelly Korda win and Paul Dunne third.
Feb 20: Ledioda missed the cut and in Mexico Ancer (T39) was the best of the three.
Feb 27: Best two were Brooke Henderson (T15) after taking an eight on one of the par fives in her opening round and Harrison Endycott T17.
March 6: Matt Millar T23 in NZ was the best result in the tough weather on the South Island.
March 13 Justin Thomas T35 was the best of the TPC Sawgrass four.
March 20: Went off a week early with Kisner but in the Valspar Jon Rahm was T6 as the best result.
April 4: Matt Jones’ T30 was the best of the four options last week after Rahm’s T6 finish the week prior.
April 11: Xander Schauffele. T2 at his second Masters appearance is impressive a show for the future.
April 17: Brooke Henderson won in Hawaii with Matt Fitzpatrick the best at the RBC Heritage at T39.
May 15: Brooks Koepka won the PGA with Schauffele aiming for a top five finish before faltering like so many on Sunday to eventually finish T16 and 11 shots off the winner.
May 22: Matt Wallace was the best of a rough weekend finishing T41 in Denmark after a promising start.
May 29: Tiger Woods at T9 in Dublin was the best of the weekend four.
June 5: Shane Lowry finished T2 in Canada. This column going well in Canada or with Canadians.
June 13. Brooks Koepka. Solo second, couldn’t quite make it three US Opens in a row.
June 19. Paul Casey continued his good form with a T5 finish in Cromwell but six shots off the winner.
Image via usatoday.com