Date: June 24, 2019
Author: Justin Falconer

How can you not be happy for Hannah?

There’s nothing special about how Hannah Green was introduced to the sport that would change her life.

She’d follow her dad, Tau, around Hillview Golf Course on the outskirts of Perth and a few junior clinics later, Hannah was a golfer.

She met girls her age playing at Hartfield Golf Club before taking up a membership at Mount Lawley.

“We wanted to do something as a family and dad and I got to play while mum would caddy for me,” Green told Golf WA in 2017.

“She used to do the tallies and stuff. It was a good way for us to spend time together because she’s not really a sporty person as well so I thought it was pretty cool.”

There’s a number of women at Mount Lawley that deserve to take huge credit for the week at Hazeltine that has changed Hannah Green’s life.

Sue Thomson, Shirley Reynolds and Shonna Gobby are at the top of that list.

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But the young women who Hannah grew up with on the golf course – some of whom might not have picked up a club since – might be as responsible for the result at the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship as anyone.

“At first I remember being a bit uncomfortable and worried about how I was playing. To be honest I might have even stopped playing at that stage,” Green says.

“The key was playing with girls my own age at Mount Lawley because not only were they as good as me but also it was more fun.

“After a while we got to know each other and we would just talk while we walked around while playing sport.”

The first of many starts in Western Australia’s State Team came soon after and once she came to terms with the pressure of teeing it up alongside Minjee Lee and against Victorian star Su Oh, Hannah started to feel at home.

She teamed up with coach Ritchie Smith – who also looks after star WA duo Minjee and Min Woo Lee – and a first trip to the US as a teenager is when Hannah realised her future would be tied to golf.

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The first time Hannah walked through the gates at a professional golf tournament was the 2015 US Women’s Open, after she won the Karrie Webb Series Scholarship and got to shadow Australia’s G.O.A.T for a week.

Karrie Webb will influence every female Australian pro for generations to come, and Hannah is no different.

“This is one of the best days I’ve had at a golf course in a long time,” an emotional Karrie Webb told media at Hazeltine.

“I start choking up about how proud I was of her. So proud of her.

“I just said I felt like I won. I feel like I won a golf tournament today I'm so excited for her.”

That week in 2015, Hannah remembers Kiwi Lydia Ko giving a starry-eyed amateur a hug and asking her how she was. Barely a year later, at 19-years-old, Hannah turned professional, so beginning her charge to the top of the women’s game.

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After making it through the Symetra Tour’s qualifying school just prior to her 20th birthday, Hannah’s rookie season on the LPGA Tour’s secondary circuit needed to be seen to be believed.

She won three times on her way to finishing second on the money list, notching 12 top 10s and locking up Rookie of the Year honours.

Every year countless golfers realise they don’t belong on a secondary tour in the US. Few learn it quite like Hannah did.

If she had a chance at winning the Women’s Australian Open in 2017, then she was unlucky to miss out twelve months later.

Hannah ran into a then largely-unknown (but now World No.1) JY Ko, though the West Australian made the Korean work.

An LPGA Tour win suddenly looked like it would come sooner rather than later.


But what’s the best thing about Hannah Green?

In the off-season in 2017, Hannah returned home to Perth and spent more time than she needed to taking clinics back at Mount Lawley for young girls who liked golf.

The next media request she snubs will be the first and she’d be top 5 on the LPGA for Strokes Gained: Interactions With Young Fans.

On Sunday at Hazeltine, she even took some time on the 8th tee to read a poem hand-written for her by a young girl.

The best thing about Hannah Green is she&aposs probably a better person than a golfer. And the golfer just won a major championship.

Former World No.1 and generational talent Ariya Jutanugarn wilted at Hazeltine playing alongside Hannah, such is the pressure in Sunday’s final group at a major.

The nerves kicked in with a handful of holes to play and Hannah’s wayward 4-iron into the 72nd hole could easily have come from having to watch World No.3 Sung Hyun Park make a birdie on 18 to cut the deficit to one.

But the smile on the two-time major winning Korean’s face said it all as she watched Hannah sink the winning putt from the scorer’s hut.

How could you not be happy for Hannah Green?

The West Australian 22-year-old will rocket to World No.17 and Hannah can now call herself a ‘millionaire’. She won’t though.

Right now none of that matters. Australian golf has a third female major champion alongside Webb and Jan Stephenson and the game couldn’t be luckier.

It’s not a competition but you won’t find a more-liked major champion in recent years. If the LPGA held a popularity contest at Hazeltine this week Hannah might have gone wire-to-wire in that, too.

Su Oh won the gold medal in the sprint to hug one of her best friends on tour on the 72nd green and boyfriend Jarryd Felton – a pro golfer himself – was speechless.

The support from young guns Becky Kay and Grace Kim, this week’s Karrie Webb scholarship winners, was probably worth three or four shots alone across the four days and we can only hope Hannah is mobbing them on an 18th green one day.

“Watching the video of them coming and pour beer all over me just really makes me tear up and makes me so happy to have them here this week,” Hannah said in her first press conference as a major champ.

“If Karrie ever does give up the scholarship I would love to pick it up and continue to do something like she's doing,” said Green.

“If I can help in any way possible, I would love to.”

Such is the current cycle of Australian women’s golf. Women like Hannah, inspired by heroes like Karrie, giving the next generation a flag to fire at.