Her first win came in July at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, where she also needed a 5-footer to capture her first career title. It was also a big comeback for the 22-year-old from Perth, who shot a third-round 73 to blow a five-stroke lead after setting the 54-hole scoring record.
“I think yesterday I more nervous want I was today because I pretty much knew it was mine to lose, having a five-stroke lead. I was surprised with how different conditions were from Friday to Saturday, and I really struggled to adjust both with my approach shots in and also putting,” said Green. “Today it felt a lot different, and I think I can definitely say that KPMG, having that experience, definitely helped me, especially the last five holes. Grinding out and making sure that I stayed patient.”
For every victory, there is always someone who finishes second. American Yealimi Noh, playing as a non-Member, came up one shot short of earning automatic LPGA Tour Membership. Noh started Sunday’s final round with a three-stroke lead over Green and held that same advantage as the duo stepped to the 15th tee.
But Noh stumbled down the stretch, while Green rose to the challenge. After Green birdied No. 15, Noh’s 5-foot par putt at No. 16 hit the lip and rolled past the hole. Green then drained a long, downhill birdie putt at No 17 to tie Noh at -21 heading to the final hole.
“A couple of the downhill putts I've had this weekend, I've left short in the heart. So I wanted to make sure that if it was missing, that I was having an uphill putt for my next,” said Green of that crucial moment at 17. “I felt like I was reading greens really well all day but towards the end, I wasn't sure if I was over-reading them, so I had my caddie, I told him what point I was looking at and I asked what his opinion was and whether he thinks it was too much or too less. I think just hearing that confirmation to say, yeah, that's the right line, is just what I needed.”
With the title on the line, both players sent their approach shots to No. 18 over the back of the green. Noh’s chip flew 10 feet past the hole while Green left hers 5 feet short of the hole. Noh could not make her par putt and could barely bring herself to watch as Green calmly drained the winning putt to dash Noh’s dreams.
“Today, yeah, it was all going good till 16 I think, just the last two bogeys on 16, and 18, really hurts, because I was playing okay up until that,” said an emotional Noh. “I really thought I could hang in there, but just made a couple mistakes.”
Brittany Altomare shot a final-round 69 to finish in solo third at -17, one week before she will make her debut for Team USA at the 2019 Solheim Cup. Two-time Cambia Portland Classic winner Brooke Henderson tied for fourth with Japan’s Nasa Hataoka at -15. Defending champion Marina Alex finished tied for seventh at -13.
NOH MAKES BIG SPLASH AT CAMBIA
Yealimi Noh was understandably emotional when leaving the scoring tent following Sunday’s final round. After starting the final round with a three-stroke advantage over Hannah Green, Noh played solid for her first 14 holes, stepping to the 15th tee at 3-under on the day and still three strokes ahead of Green. But as the tournament closed, Noh’s game faltered and two bogeys over her final three holes opened the door for Green to take the win.
If Noh had emerged victorious, she would have earned immediate LPGA Tour status and become just the third Monday Qualifier in Tour history to capture that week’s title. Instead, while Noh certainly made a name for herself in the golf world, she did not secure that elusive Membership and will instead need to rely on advancing through the LPGA’s Qualifying School.
“I played really solid and great,” said Noh, who was also in contention at July’s Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, where she entered the final round one stroke off the lead and ultimately tied for sixth. “(Green) stayed really strong throughout, so congrats to her. Yeah, it sucks, but hopefully I'll come back next year after Q-School this year and play on the Tour next year.”
Noh is currently entered in Stage II of the LPGA’s Qualifying School, which takes place Oct. 12-17 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. Noh said this week is her final LPGA Tour appearance of 2019, as she has other sponsor obligations and tournaments in Korea and Japan over the coming weeks. Should she play well in those other events and jump into the top 75 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, she could skip Stage II and go directly to LPGA Q-Series, a two-week final stage that will be held Oct. 23-26 and Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 at Pinehurst No. 6 and Pinehurst No. 9 in North Carolina.
GREEN GOOD AT THE BOUNCEBACK WIN
Hannah Green went to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship fresh off missing the cut the previous week. She also came to the Cambia Portland Classic after missing last week’s cut.
Both of those tournaments ended the same way – with Green finding the winner’s circle. Green credited her calm personality and ability to move past those bad moments as keys to her new-found career success. The fact that she really likes Portland doesn’t hurt either.
“I guess I'm pretty good about not dwelling on past results, which is obviously really key in this type of job I guess,” said Green, who said she’s eaten out every night, enjoying Portland’s famed food scene. “Yeah, I actually really enjoy Portland, as well. So pretty much not really thought about golf once I leave the golf course, which I think is really important, too.”
Rolex Rankings No. 26 Hannah Green (64-63-73-67)
Rolex Rankings No. 297 Yealimi Noh (65-68-64-71)
CME GROUP CARES CHALLENGE –SCORE 1 FOR ST. JUDE
The CME Group Cares Challenge is a season-long charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group will donate $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2019, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
The Cambia Portland Classic saw two holes-in-one for a total of $40,000. There have been 23 made prior to the week and a total of $460,000 has been donated thus far in 2019.
LEADERS TOP 10 COMPETITION
The LEADERS Top 10 competition awards a $100,000 bonus to the LPGA player with the most top-10 finishes through the completion of the event held immediately prior to the CME Group Tour Championship. In the event of a tie in total top-10 finishes, the award will go to the player with the most official wins, followed by most second-place finishes, third-place finishes, etc., until the tie is broken.
With her tie for fourth at the Cambia Portland Classic, Brooke Henderson notched her 10th top-10 finish and moved into a tie for first with Jin Young Ko. Four players are tied for third with nine top-10s – Ariya Jutanugarn, Hyo Joo Kim, Jeongeun Lee6 and Nelly Korda.
No. 12, par 5
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 61 (-11), Sei Young Kim, second round, 2019
36 holes: 127 (-17), Hannah Green, 2019
54 holes: 197 (-19), Yealimi Noh, 2019
72 holes: 267 (-21), Brooke Henderson, 2015; Hannah Green, 2019