Perth and Mount Lawley Golf Club are a long way from Carnoustie, where the AIG Women’s Open takes place this week. But that hasn’t stopped Hannah Green from feeling somewhat at home upon the famed linksland.
Green, the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Champion, fronted the media on Tuesday morning local time to discuss the week ahead after a disappointing missed cut at the Women’s Scottish Open immediately following a close call chasing an Olympic medal in Tokyo.
And it seems the 24-year-old didn’t take long to find some similarities with playing back home after just 18 holes of practise.
“I feel like links golf, it definitely helps especially if you're trying to get a lot of knock-down shots. Coming from Australia, I'm pretty good playing in the wind,” Green said when questioned about whether her increased length of the tee will be an advantage.
“I don't know what the forecast is like. I think it's actually pretty calm, so I do hope it pops up a little bit more to have some sort of advantage.”
Wind was a factor last week at Dumbarnie Links where rounds of 73-74 saw Green head to Carnoustie early in anticipation for the year’s final major.
But Carnoustie in the wind will be a significantly different beast, with firmer and faster conditions greeting players as they prepare for the Women’s Open. Conditions far more similar to playing at home in Perth than last week due to the increased run on tee shots and a chance to be more aggressive off the tee according to Green.
“I feel like compared to last week, we have a lot of run-outs but the bunkers are really well-placed and the tee boxes they have chosen has put them in play on pretty much every hole,” she said. "It just depends how you're feeling off the tee whether you want to be aggressive or not.”
Adding to the feelings of home away from home this week for Green will be a number of familiar faces on the grounds throughout tournament week.
“I feel like links golf, it definitely helps especially if you're trying to get a lot of knock-down shots. Coming from Australia, I'm pretty good playing in the wind.” - Hannah Green.
Green’s mother, Sue, hails from Fraserburgh, a little more than two hours’ drive north of Carnoustie, with her family in possession of some tickets to come and watch the West Australian in action.
“My mum's cousin has asked for five tickets, so I'm pretty sure they are all going to be family members coming,” Green said. “I feel like I won't be able to give them a hug or anything but at least I'll have them out there, and I'm excited to see them from behind the rope.”
Beyond the familial connection on site, the World No.15’s fellow Mount Lawley member and rising amateur star Kirsten Rudgeley will join Green in the field after pre-qualifying on Monday following two recent amateur wins in the U.K.
Rudgeley and Green are regular practise partners back home and shared dinner on Monday night, with a practise round on the cards for Wednesday. The two also in regular contact via message when on the road.
Green despite her own young age taking on something of a mentor role to her compatriot this week.
“She's been playing really well, and there's no reason why she can't do it again this week,” said Green of the runner-up at the Australian Women’s Amateur this year. “I think she's a little bit starstruck. She's told me she's seen a couple players she watches on TV and one day she'll be one of those girls and there will be someone looking up to her.
“She just needs to keep doing what she's doing and don't get too caught up in it and yeah, just play well.”
Also part of the eight strong Aussie contingent are Green’s teammates from the victorious Western Australia Women’s Interstate team of 2012, Minjee Lee and Whitney Hillier.
Hillier was the best of the Aussies last week at the Scottish Open and given she plies her trade on the Ladies European Tour is rarely in the same fields as Green, while her Olympic teammate Lee is the most recent major winner in the game.
Green skipped the Evian Championship where Lee struck her name from the best player without a major discussion in favour of some time at home in Perth before the Olympics and final stretch of the LPGA Tour season.
The time in Perth was more a mental break than a physical one according to Green who struggles being away from Australia for long stretches as is a part of Tour life in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I feel like at least that's one positive that if you don't have such a great hole, you look at the bigger picture and are like, ‘I'm playing Carnoustie, this is pretty damn cool’.”
But the hiatus from Tour life wasn’t without its golf related stress courtesy of Lee’s performance at the Evian.
“I was more nervous watching her than I was winning KPMG,” Green said. “It was about midnight when she won Perth time and I think she had probably seven or eight holes to go, and I told my boyfriend, I reckon she's going to win. So I couldn't even go to sleep. I was just watching the whole entire time.
“She played so well and putted so well. It was even inspiring to me as a fellow player.”
With inspiration from Lee, familiar faces in the crowd and field and hopefully some blustery conditions, it wouldn’t surprise if Green found herself in the mix come Sunday.
And regardless of how she plays, another familiar feeling remains in place. Green's positive attitude to the game she plays for a living sure to hold her in good stead this week.
“I think we are just so fortunate to be able to play and even when I drove in, I was kind of just smiling the entire way and even on the golf course. I feel like at least that's one positive that if you don't have such a great hole, you look at the bigger picture and are like, ‘I'm playing Carnoustie, this is pretty damn cool’.”