Virus won't stop Aust women golfers: Green

Major winner Hannah Green says the coronavirus outbreak won't stop the momentum of Australia's women golfers.

13-Apr-2020 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
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Young Australian golf star Hannah Green says uncertainty about the LPGA Tour resumption is proving harder to deal with than the break itself as she prepares for her major title defence.

Green's meteoric rise has been temporarily stalled by the coronavirus outbreak but she's backing Australia's contingent to come out firing when the tour does get under way again.

The 23-year-old West Australian spearheaded a whirlwind 2019 for that group with her maiden major win at the US Women's PGA Championship and another victory in Portland, Oregon.

She commenced the 2020 season with impressive performances at the Australian Open (tied 13th) and Victorian Open (tied 11th) before the LPGA Tour began suspending tournaments due to COVID-19.

That included the ANA Inspiration - the first women's major of the year - and the US Women's Open, which has been moved from June to December.

"It will be difficult to get back into playing mode but the hardest thing is not the break itself; it's not knowing how long the break is actually going to last," world No.21 Green told AAP from hometown Perth.

"Coming back into this new season, I had a lot of confidence I had built from a successful 2019.

"I felt I worked really hard on my game in the off-season because I now know what success tastes like.

"That's not to say I feel I need to win three times on the LPGA Tour this year but I do want to see some overall improvement in every part of my game."

The LPGA Tour is currently set to resume in the US in late June, although many believe that will not happen with the US struggling to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

For now, at least, Green's defence of her US Women's PGA Championship remains on the schedule.

It is set to be the second LPGA Tour event on the circuit's return, held at the prestigious Aronimink course outside Philadelphia.

"I was especially looking forward to my first time defending a major championship title and for it to be at a course like Aronimink it will definitely disappointing (if it were to be postponed)," Green said.

"But there will be a chance for me to defend my title at some point and let's hope that is in 2020."

Green became the first Australian woman to win a major since Karrie Webb in 2006 and the third overall after Jan Stephenson.

Weeks later, teenager Gabi Ruffels became the first Australian to win the US Women's Amateur before Sydney's Stephanie Kyriacou won the Ladies European Tour's Australian Ladies Classic by eight shots.

In April, fellow Perth product Minjee Lee had claimed her fifth LPGA Tour title in Los Angeles.

The spate of success by youngsters prompted seven-time major winner Webb to predict a golden age for Australian women's golf.

"I'd say we'll be hungrier than ever and maybe we could see some of our best golf after Covid-19," said Green.

"There is no reason why we can't go to another level and we are pretty fortunate that the spread of the virus in Australia is not as bad as other parts of the world.

"Maybe that could give us an opportunity to get back to practising and playing before the women from Europe, Asia and the US."


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