Date: August 05, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Green delivers ominous warning

If there’s such a thing as a message in golf, Hannah Green sent one today.

The Perth star is fully aware she’s still a long way from her goal of winning the US Women’s Amateur, but she could barely have been more emphatic today in charging into the quarter-finals at Rolling Green Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia.

Green, a Golf Australia national squad member, poured in eight birdies and an eagle in just 29 combined holes to advance through the rounds of 32 and 16.

In doing so, she took down American No.2 seed and talk of the tournament Lucy Li 6&4, then backed up to dismiss Frenchwoman Celina Boutier 4&3 to announce herself to a wide open final eight.

“That was more like what I’d hoped to be doing all week,” a modest Green said afterwards.

“I felt really confident over the ball, which I haven't really felt like the previous few days … and it was nice to get that confidence – and it definitely happened throughout the whole day.”

The Mount Lawley member battled through food poisoning earlier in the week and struggled with the wet, slightly bumpy conditions during the stroke play phase.

“But I’ve been feeling better, on and off the course thankfully, as the week goes on. Today it was a lot hotter and firmer and that helped me a fair bit.”

Green spotted Li in a start when the 13-year-old wunderkind birdied the first hole in a round of 32 match with a gallery befitting the interest in the player who, in 2014, became youngest to have ever contested the US Women’s Open.

But far from overawed, the dual winner of the Karrie Webb Scholarship peeled off birdies of her own on the third, fifth and eighth holes to go 3-up and set the tone for the match.

By the time Green birdied the 14th to clinch victory, she was five under the card.

“It actually gave me a bit of time between matches. I got to re-stretch and warm up again, so that was nice,” she said.

And Boutier paid the price immediately the afternoon session began.

Green was two under and 3-up through four holes when she caught a break by halving the tough fifth – “a really tough hole and pin position” – with a double-bogey.

They halved the sixth in birdies before Green rolled in a curling bomb for eagle on the seventh to take a stranglehold on the match.

“Yeah, I didn’t even pay much attention to that putt because I was just trying to lag it down there and make a birdie to keep the pressure on and it dropped … I was really surprised,” said Green, who effectively had the match sewn up at the turn when 5-up after yet another birdie on the ninth.

“I made a couple of soft bogeys on 10, 11 and 12, but I just really did what I had to from there and was very happy to keep going.”

Remarkably, there are eight different countries represented in the quarter-finals with Green’s next opponent the 18-year-old Mathilda Cappeliez, also of France and a semi-finalist at this event last year.

“I don’t know too much about her to be honest,” Green said.

“I know she beat (Adelaide’s) Jenny Lee in the first round last year and is obviously playing pretty well again.

“But there’s no reason I can’t keep going now. I think I’ve found form I’ve been looking for and if I can keep that going for a few more days, who knows what could happen.”

The result keeps Western Australia’s extraordinarily impressive run at key USGA events ticking along after Min Woo Lee won last month’s US Boys’ title in which his namesake Fred Lee was also a quarter-finalist.

Green is the second oldest of the eight remaining players, with only Puerto Rico’s Maria Torrest older at 24.

Green’s quarter-final will be played at 2.05pm local time (4.05am Saturday AEST and 2.05am Saturday AWST).