Women's PGA Championship 2019

Green light till finish?

Another improbable hole-out has Australia's midway leader dreaming with three-shot lead

LOS ANGELES • For the second sucessive day, Hannah Green had the rub of the green as she extended her lead at the Women's PGA Championship to three shots.

The Australian maintained her momentum from a superb opening round in which she needed just 23 putts at the Hazeltine National course in Chaska, Minnesota.

In the second round on Friday, she made 27 putts en route to a three-under 69 and a 137 total. Two-time Major winner Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, winless since last July's Scottish Open, is second after a 70 for 140.

Green, 22, thanked her lucky stars for a hole-out for the second straight day, this time after putting her second shot on the par-four 12th in the water.

After a penalty drop, her ball ended up tucked down in the rough. But she gouged it out with a wedge, and it rolled straight in for a par save.

"It was still quite a tough pitch shot," she admitted. "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.

TWICE LUCKY

I knew it was going to be close but I didn't think it had the chance of going in. I guess with the hole-out on seven yesterday and the hole-out today, it's really going my way.

HANNAH GREEN (above), on holing out the 12th.

"When it went in, I just laughed. I guess with the hole-out on seven yesterday and the hole-out today, it's really going my way."

Green, whose best Major finish was a tie for 16th at last year's ANA Inspiration, started with a bogey on the first hole, the lone blemish, but birdied Nos. 2, 6, 8 and 14.

New Zealand's Lydia Ko (70) and defending champion Park Sung-hyun of South Korea (71) are tied for third on 141.

American Michelle Wie returned for the first time in two months and stumbled to the finish, just two shots better than her opening 84.

Wie, who has chronic wrist injury and on Thursday hinted that her career may end soon, had one of her worst performances, finishing in 147th place with a 166.

"Not great," she said when asked how her hand felt. "In an ideal world, I'd wake up and be fine and play next week. Going to go back and figure out what's next."

Ariya, the former world No. 1 who is now No. 8, was the only one to threaten Green but slipped with two bogeys in the final six holes.

She is coming off a joint-fifth finish at the ShopRite Classic, which was just her third top-10 finish in 13 starts this year. But the 2018 US Women's Open champion believes that success is all about being patient.

"It's really a challenge, but I just feel like it's life," said the 23-year-old on the Golf Channel. "We are always going to go up and down.

"I just fight with it, and be patient, and do the best I can because I never know when a good round will show up. And I never know when a bad round show up."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

WOMEN'S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 23, 2019, with the headline 'Green light till finish?'. Print Edition | Subscribe