(Reuters) – Australian Hannah Green pitched in from 60 yards to save par early in her second round en route to a four-shot clubhouse lead at the Women’s PGA Championship in Chaska, Minnesota on Friday.
Green’s unlikely save at her third hole, the par-four 12th, came after she had hit her second shot into a hazard she barely knew existed at Hazeltine National.
“I actually didn’t even notice the hazard yesterday,” the 22-year-old from Perth, Western Australia, said after carding three-under-par 69.
At seven-under 137, Green set a cracking pace in the major championship, with defending champion Park Sung-hyun of South Korea the closest rival among the morning wave after a 71.
American Nelly Korda was four shots back, while South Korean world number one Ko Jin-young trailed by seven.
Green was delighted to get the rub of the green in a game that so often seems to throw up bad breaks.
After her second shot at the 12th hole ended in a hazard, now officially known as a penalty area, she took a one-stroke penalty and assessed the options for her third shot.
“It was still quite a tough pitch shot,” she said. “I said to my caddie ‘I need to get it close as possible’.
“I had to land it perfectly and I guess I did. I knew it was going to be close but I didn’t think it had the chance of going in.
“When it went in I just laughed because with the hole-out on seven yesterday and with the hole-out today, it’s really going my way. So, yeah, just nice to at least be getting some luck on the course.”
Green has not won on the LPGA Tour and has only one top-10 finish this year. She acknowledges that she is in unknown territory.
“I mean even when you play this type of golf at just a regular event you’re pretty proud of yourself,” she said.
“I’ve never put myself in this position in any event so to be doing it this week at such a great venue definitely shows things are going the right way.
“I have had some luck going my way. I hope that continues. I have got to keep doing what I’m doing.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge)