It’s been a year to remember for 22-year-old Hannah Green. The Aussie became a Rolex First-Time Winner in wire-to-wire fashion at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and then followed up that breakthrough performance with her second career win at the Cambia Portland Classic. With just two events left on the 2019 LPGA Tour schedule, Green finds herself tied for the lead at the TOTO Japan Classic and is looking to capitalize on the opportunity ahead this weekend.
“A very great year for me obviously having two wins and a major championship. I just wanted to make sure that during this Asia swing, even though there was no cut, that I didn't try and breeze my way through and just focus on finishing strong through the end of the year. So now being in this position, definitely want to continue and hopefully have a win here and then just a strong finish at CME, which will be a nice way to finish and go to the off-season.”
Green played alongside Ariya Jutanugarn and JLPGA star Momoko Ueda on Friday, and she said she really enjoyed the support she received from the Japanese spectators.
“I was really surprised how many people are out here so early, and especially on a Friday. I'm sure this weekend we'll have a lot of supporters. Just really nice to get on to the tee box and they're clapping. Makes you smile and gives you a little confidence for when you're about to hit the tee shot.”
A CLEAR MIND IS KEY FOR MINJEE LEE
At last week’s Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA, Minjee Lee narrowly missed out on her second win of the 2019 season. Lee fell short in a three-way playoff to Nelly Korda but was thrilled and admittedly surprised to pick up her fourth runner-up result of the season despite not having any expectations.
“Yeah, I mean, coming into that event I wasn't really expecting too much,” Lee said of her expectations in Chinese Taipei. “I just sort of took down my expectations a little bit and tried to have fun that week. Yeah, overall I had really good results. So same as this week. Just going to try my best and do my best.”
The TOTO Japan Classic marks Lee’s fourth week in a row on the LPGA, coupled with a KLPGA tournament in Korea on the front-end and it’s been a long stretch for the five-time LPGA winner. While the travel has the Australia native a bit under the weather, she said she’s really been enjoying her time overseas.
“This is my fourth week in a row, so we've been on the road for quite a long time now in Asia. But it's really nice. We get looked after really well. All the Asia swing events are pretty special.”
Rolex Rankings No. 21 Hannah Green (67)
- Green hit 9 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 28 putts
- Green is making her first career start at the TOTO Japan Classic
- In 2019, Green has made 21 LPGA starts with two wins and one additional top-10 finish
- Green is one of seven players with multiple wins in the 2019 season: Brooke Henderson (2), Mi Jung Hur (2), Jin Young Ko (4), Nelly Korda (2), Sei Young Kim (2) and Sung Hyun Park (2)
- In 2017, Green took Epson Tour wins at the Sara Bay Classic, Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout and IOA Golf Classic en route to winning Gaelle Truit Rookie of the Year honors
Rolex Rankings No. 24 Ai Suzuki (67)
- 25-year-old from Tokushima Prefecture, Japan
- Suzuki hit 12 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 26 putts
- Suzuki is making her 15th career start on the LPGA Tour
- This is her seventh start at the TOTO Japan Classic
- Suzuki was the runner-up at the 2017 TOTO Japan Classic at the Taiheiyo Club, which is her career-best finish on the LPGA
- Suzuki has 14 career wins on the JLPGA including five wins during the 2019 season
- She ranks third on the 2019 JLPGA Money List, with five wins and 11 total top-10 finishes
- Rei Matsuda made an ace on No. 9 using a 6-iron during the first round of the TOTO Japan Classic
- Players T3 or better represent seven different countries: Australia, Japan, Rep. of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Chinese Taipei and the U.S.