Date: April 24, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Green grabs first Symetra win

Perth's Hannah Green knew it was going to be a good day when she woke up to pancakes in Sarasota, Florida.

Several hours later, Green, 20, calmly birdied the 54th and final hole of the Sara Bay Classic to win her first Symetra Tour event by two strokes.

But no sooner had the almost obligatory dousing in beer and water taken place, Green reiterated that she was now just one-third of the way to her season goal – three wins to earn a "battlefield promotion" directly on to the LPGA Tour.

"I don't even feel like I've won. It hasn't sunk in yet," Green said.

"I think driving up to Atlanta tonight, it'll be like, `Wow, I won!'.

"I'm still getting myself settled (on the Symetra Tour), so it's nice to have a win so early and if I get two more wins I'm at my goal.

"It's always nice to have a good start early in the season, but there are a lot of events left to keep an eye on."

Green, at three under, trailed Benyapa Niphatsophon by two after the penultimate round, but was soon four down after the Thai made two early birdies to reach seven under.

But the pressure began to take a toll on Niphatsophon and her second double-bogey on the 15th dropped her to one under.

Green had also endured three bogeys in four holes until the 14th, but made a critical par putt on the 15th to join the lead.

The pair slugged it out with pars until the 18th tee where they stood with a one-shot buffer over Princess Superal, of the Philippines.

Power-hitter Niphatsophon waited for her second shot to the par five after Green had chosen to lay up, but then pulled her fairway wood left.

The Thai then took two chips and two putts to record a bogey, leaving the path clear for Green who had two putts from 3.5m to take her first win since turning pro late last year.

The Mount Lawley member, though, only needed one and delighted in watching her birdie putt push her two clear at precisely the right moment.

"I knew (the 18th) was going to play as a three-shot hole for me, but Benyapa hits it really far and could reach easily," Green said.

"She hit left of the green and unfortunately neither of her chip shots were very good and I just had to capitalise on that and hit mine to 10 feet and was able to make the putt.

"It was nice to finish with a birdie, but I felt sorry for Benyapa with her bogey.

"I didn't really putt too great today, (but) I did make a great putt for par on the 15th and then this putt on the last was probably the only putts I made today.

"It was a great feeling having it roll in, not having to tap it in. It was really nice!

"I felt good today. I had pancakes for breakfast – my host family made them for me – and on the course I felt really calm and never relly felt the pressure was on me because I never had the sole lead.

"So it's nice to finish it off with a win."

Green, who fired a 73 to finish at two under, pocketed $US16,500 for her triumph, good enough to reach third on the money list and sit less than $US7000 behind Niphatsophon on top.

The top 10 at season's end earn cards for next year's LPGA Tour.

Green, who shone against the LPGA's best to finish seventh at Royal Adelaide in the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open in February, is pumped with her progress since turning pro.

"I've put myself into better fields with better girls and I'm glad my golf is rising," she said.

But there's nothing too elaborate planned for our latest American winner with a road trip to make next week's Symetra Classic at Milton, north of Atlanta.

"I've got a seven-hour drive to Georgia with two other Aussies, but I'm sure we'll do something special."

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