Hannah Green conquers nerves, defending champ Sung Hyun Park to win first major

Hannah Green never felt more nervous than standing over a 5-foot par putt Sunday at Hazeltine National in Minnesota with a chance to win her first major at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Neither did Karrie Webb, who won seven majors in her Hall of Fame career.

Webb watched from outside the ropes, her heart racing. It was 11 years ago in Minnesota that Webb started a scholarship program to bring young Australian amateurs to majors to spend a week with her and experience golf’s biggest events. Four years ago, Green was one of those scholarship winners.

And now she’s a major champion.

Green held her nerve to the end, hitting 8-iron to 15 feet for a pivotal birdie on the 16th hole, and getting up-and-down from a bunker on the 18th hole for an even-par 72 and a one-shot victory over defending champion Sung Hyun Park.

“I can’t believe I’m in this position right now,” said Green, 22, who is in her second year on the LPGA Tour. “I’ve always wanted to win an event, and to win a major championship as my first is crazy.”

Green started the final round with a one-shot lead over Ariya Jutanugarn, who is a two-time major champion. Jutanugarn didn’t make a birdie in her round of 77.

Then it was Park, another former No. 1 and two-time major winner, making an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 68 that left Green no margin for error.

Watching it all unfold was Webb, the only woman to capture the “Super Slam” of five different LPGA majors. She stayed with Green in a house all week, along with the two most recent scholarship winners — Becky Kay and Grace Kim.

“I feel like I won a golf tournament today I’m so excited for her,” Webb said. “You didn’t do it yourself, but you supported someone who realized that dream.”

PGA Tour: Chez Reavie won the Travelers Championship for his second PGA Tour title and first in 11 years, closing with a 1-under 69 for a four-stroke victory over Keegan Bradley and Zack Sucher in Cromwell, Conn.

PGA Tour Champions: Jerry Kelly beat Retief Goosen with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff to win the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wis. Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 to match Goosen (66) and Steve Stricker (67) at 15-under 201. Stricker, who missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th in regulation, was eliminated with a bogey on the first extra hole.

European Tour: Italy’s Andrea Pavan beat Matthew Fitzpatrick with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff in the BMW International Open in Munich.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/golf/article/Hannah-Green-conquers-nerves-defending-champ-14032201.php.

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