Date: February 10, 2016
Author: Tom Fee, GolfWA

Green hopes for another NZ surprise

Even with a year to process, Hannah Green still looks back in disbelief at last year's ISPS Handa NZ Open.

The up and coming amateur was an unexpected runner-up as world number 1 Lydia Ko triumphed on the back of a ridiculous 11-under 61 in her second round.

This week, the Mount Lawley teenager returns to Clearwater Golf Club for another crack the defending champion, as well as a field comprised of Ladies European Tour and ALPG Tour regulars.

“It feels really good to be back here,” said Green.

“I still can't believe that I came second last year and had 4-under on the last day.”

Just last week Green made a similar late surge at the Oates Victorian Open. Having scraped into the weekend with rounds of 76 and 75, Green shot back to back 4-under rounds to finish T11 and alongside one of golf's most illustrious names in Karrie Webb.

“(Tying with Webb) definitely helps with my confidence for the coming weeks," said Green, a recipient of the Karrie Webb scholarship in 2015.

“I was hoping that we would be able to play together in Victoria, even though I would have been so nervous!”

“We’ve kept in touch since I was her guest at the US Open, and just last week she offered to play a practice round with my if I qualify for the Australian Open. She's always great to approach for advice or just a chat.”

These starts are all invaluable experiences for Green as she considers where and when to make her move into the professional ranks.

“At the moment I’m thinking I will go to the LET (Ladies European Tour),” said Green.

“It will be a better transition from amateur to professional golf. It’s good that I'm getting to meet these girls now because I'll be competing against them soon.”

And with the promising signs from last week extending into yesterday's practice round, Green is eager to go toe-to-toe with these tour regulars once again.

“Compared to last year I'm hitting it longer — which will always help — but I feel I'm hitting the ball better than I did last week too,” said Green.

“There are a couple of tricky drives on this course so I have to really focus on those holes, but overall I think the course suits me well.”

Even though Green has stepped up her game, she is wary of her competition for this week.

“Firstly I just want to make the cut as it seems to be a pretty strong field this year, and I'd say stronger than last year,” said Green.

“But if I’m playing Sunday I'm definitely going for the top 10, I just don't want to put too much pressure on myself after last year’s result!”

After affording Green a sponsors invite for the second straight year, Green has been thrown another exciting challenge by the tournament directors, with today's draw announcement placing Green in the marquee group alongside Lydia Ko and Denmark's Emily Pedersen.