Rookie Hannah Green walked out of the scorer’s tent in the Bahamas after a T11 debut and pulled her phone out of her golf bag.
A text message from Karrie Webb was one that flashed on her screen.
“Wow, what a great start,” Webb texted.
Green has developed a close relationship with Webb that extends beyond just mentor-pupil. They exchanged text messages after each of Green's three victories on the Symetra Tour. Webb came to Daytona during the week of the Symetra Tour Championship to take the Aussie contingent out to dinner. In December, Green and Webb were paired together in a match play event in Japan where she got to spend a week with the 41-time winner.
This week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, they have a practice round scheduled at Kooyonga Golf Club.
The relationship started when Green was 16 and twice was awarded the Karrie Webb Scholarship to shadow Webb at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“To go to a major event (U.S. Open) was amazing, I had no idea how it was run and I would have never been able to go to an event in the U.S.,” explained Green about the benefits of the scholarship. “She (Karrie) is really thinking outside the box and trying to do as much as she can to help golf in Australia, even though she doesn’t live there full-time. She’s awesome.”
If you need hard evidence of the impact of the Karrie Webb Scholarship, just pull up the recent results from the Oates Vic Open in Australia. Minjee Lee won, Karis Davidson finished second and Green tied for third. All three are former recipients of the scholarship.
Here is the tricky part of the relationship. One of Green’s main goals in 2018 is to qualify for the UL International Crown in Korea – a country she loves. The top four players from Australia will qualify and Green is currently sixth at No. 139 in the world. Webb is fifth, so she’d have to leap frog her idol and at least one other.
“I think UL International Crown is a good goal because if I can get on to the team, I’d have to be at least top 100 in the world,” said Green, who steered clear of talking about jumping Webb. “All the Australians want to compete in it, so it’ll be a tough team to make.”
Green has already climbed 66 spots in the world rankings since January 1 with her T11 at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and T3 at the Oates Vic Open.
“The first goal I set this off season was to feel comfortable on the LPGA and I feel comfortable already,” explained Green, who finished second on the Symetra Tour money list in 2017 to earn full LPGA membership. “Qualifying for every major is my next goal.”
Green has a good chance to do that after pocketing over $21,000 in her debut. Now, she has somewhat of a home game in South Australia. Having grown up in Perth, Green never played Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide. But just after the new year, she made the three-hour flight to get her first glimpse of the course.
“I went to go see a coach in Adelaide and I managed to sneak a round and it’s a really good course,” said Green. “Grange and Royal Adelaide, where we played the last two years, are very good courses. In my opinion, Kooyonga is the most tough but also fair. I’m glad it’s a traditional Australian type course, pretty linksy, firm and tight fairways. I think it favors us Australians.”
Green is quite the go-with-the-flow type of person. Nothing rattles the 21-year-old. She’ll play in Australia this week and then return to the LPGA for the Bank of Hope Founders Hope in March. She says she won’t create a U.S. base yet. She’s got enough Australian friends in the U.S. to jump from house to house during off weeks.
“I’m not really sure yet where I want to base myself, people are just picking me up off the streets,” joked Green.
While fun-natured, Green is also mature beyond her years. That said, when she got a letter from the LPGA this winter she couldn’t hide her youthful joy.
“When I received my (LPGA) credential, I was like ‘Wow, I’m actually going to be on the LPGA,'” said Green. “I don’t know when it sunk in, but it’s cool to say that I am an LPGA player.”
This week, she gets to flash that credential and showcase her talents in front of her home country's fans.