Golfer Hannah Green getting back into swing of things with 13th Beach opener
Hannah Green has been working on her long-range swing.
Despite all she’s accomplished already — becoming the first Australian woman since Carrie Webb in 2006 to win a major, winning a Greg Norman Medal, and representing Australia at the Olympics all before the age of 25 — the Perth-born Green knows she has plenty more to achieve.
She hopes to join fellow Aussie Minjee Lee in the top 10 this year, with her charge beginning at 13th Beach in Victoria later today.
Green is the highest-ranked player and favourite to take out the Vic Open title, but has yet to crack into that lucrative club: Her highest career rank is 13.
“I’d love to, I don’t see why not,” she said.
“If I tick all my little goals, I don’t see why that big goal can’t be achieved. A win here would be good, it would definitely help that.”
While she has not played competitively in Australia for some time, Green is still one of the marquee players for this tournament: Her face is plastered on all the billboards along the spectacular Barwon Heads coastline.
“It’s nice,” the world number 30 said.
“My first event where my face is everywhere. I haven’t played a competitive tournament in Australia for a couple of years, so I’m really excited. I feel like it might put a bit of pressure on me, but it’s to be expected.”
Like most Australian athletes, Green has sometimes struggled to navigate the bunkers and hazards of the COVID-19 pandemic while trying to prepare for major tournaments.
After going home to Perth for Christmas, she realised it was going to be too difficult to compete at Royal Queensland for the inaugural Australian WPGA Championship, which was won by good friend Su Oh.
“It was disappointing not to be there, but it was great to see my best friend win,” she said.
“It’s been pretty difficult, it’s been hard to work around with the border changes … so I’m [now] on the road for three more months instead of going back to Western Australia.
“Everyone’s got to deal with it. It’s not just me.”
Tricky as it can be, going home remains important to Green.
“I feel like a lot of girls have said that when they put in their first five years as a professional, they feel like they’ve missed out on so much. So, I guess, hearing the experiences that they had … I’ve always wanted to make sure I’m enjoying myself.”
Perth stopovers allow Green to regain any energy drained by an otherwise hectic touring schedule.
“Festive seasons, trying to catch up with family, friends, and everything. Come the new year, I’m like, ‘OK, I’m ready to get back into it’.
“I wanted to make sure I had enough time off [so] that I felt motivated to get ready for this year.
“I haven’t played as much as I probably would’ve liked, but I’ve been practising and doing all the drills that I need to do, so I’m excited to see what I’ve been working on; to see what it would be like when I’m on the golf course.”
Leading commentator and former professional Mike Clayton said that, despite the interrupted preparation, Green’s game was looking formidable.
“Her swing looks great. It’s always been great, [but] it’s really good now,” he said.
And she’s hitting the ball further than before.
“That helps, obviously. Because there are a lot of girls out there that the hit the ball really long, so if you want to compete with them it helps to be long. She’s a terrific player.”
It’s not just her return to the course that Green is excited about. It’s also who she will be playing with.
Green will be partnered with Oh for the first two rounds at the Vic Open as the two women look to charge up the rankings and add even more silverware to their growing cabinets.
“It’ll be a lot of fun,” she said. “This will be the first time properly playing together, especially in Australia.
“We’ve been travelling together from the end of 2018. Both in the same boat: [We] don’t really travel with parents or coaches or anything like that. It’s just us two on the road and we both get along really well, have the same interests and we just really enjoy seeing each other do well.
“I’m yet to celebrate her win in Queensland, but it’ll happen.”