Sport - Golf

How Hannah Green Made History As The First Woman To Win A Mixed-Gender Golf Tournament

The RSNG team

The TPS Murray River on the PGA Tour of Australasia saw unprecedented success for the LPGA as, for the first time, there was a female winner of a mixed-gender competition.

Australian Hannah Green triumphed, collecting a five-figure check, yet this landmark victory may never have happened at all, as she reveals to RSNG…

Making History

“I suppose some things are just meant to happen, aren’t they?” laughs Hannah Green. The 25-year-old Perth-born right-hander is referring to the fact that after she won the Vic Open at Barwon Heads near Geelong, she was planning to journey back home – a journey which would have taken her to the opposite coast in Western Australia.

However, due to border restrictions she was unable to do so, and instead decided to stay in Victoria and compete in the Murray River. Thankfully she did, and history was made.

“That was certainly something that I wasn’t expecting to happen, and I really wasn’t thinking about staying behind. Ultimately these things work out sometimes, so when I knew I was staying, I was certain I was going to put everything into my game over the four days.

“To end up at the top of the leaderboard was such a brilliant feeling, and I think it lays down a marker for the women’s game, which is experiencing such an upward curve at the moment in any case.”

“It’s so good to have been the first woman in the world to win a TPS event”

The competition was also notable for the fact her boyfriend Jarryd Felton was participating – he finished a respectable T24, although there was no doubt about bragging rights.

The first time in the modern game that a female golfer took part in a competition which also featured men was in 2003. That was when the then world number one in the women’s game, played against the best men. Annika Sörenstam was that player – invited to play in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Bank of America Colonial tournament on the PGA Tour. Missing the cut doesn’t tell the whole story, as she led the field in first round accuracy.

When Green won the TPS Murray River, she won by four shots and 20 under par beating Hayden Hopewell – who as an amateur didn’t receive any prize money – and Andrew Evans.

Green’s celebration may be a strange one to someone who doesn’t follow F1, as she did a ‘shoey’ with her best friend.

“Yeah, this is something which Danny Ricciardo does when he wins a Formula One race, where he pours the winning champagne into his shoe and then takes a drink of it! It may seem weird for those who don’t know, so I apologize to people who didn’t find this great to watch,” she laughs. “It wasn’t nice for me, either!

“But I would like to think that I will get the opportunity to do this again in the future. Not only is winning a good habit, but positive promotion of the women’s game is something that remains really important to me.”

Playing Through Testing Conditions

Green’s victory, although by a sizable margin, was not straightforward. She played through testing conditions, especially on the Sunday, with blustery weather a constant. Yet Green, who won the Women’s PGA in Minnesota in 2019, made light of the challenging elements to shoot an impressive 66.

Although she sat at the top of the leaderboard going into the final round, it was in a four-way tie for the lead. The aforementioned Evans, as well as Matthew Millar and Blake Collyer were also on -15.

“When I got that eagle on the par 5 10th hole, I felt as though I could go on and win this. Yet the conditions were so precarious that I knew it was possible to just give those shots back to the course at any time.

“I managed to birdie the 11th, and that gave me a bit more breathing space. Three pars followed as I was just looking to play steady golf and not make any mistakes. Birdieing the 15th felt like heaven, but then I bogeyed the 16th and a little bit of panic came my way. Thankfully I was able to par the last two and when I made that final putt on the 18th, I just smiled.”

“The TPS event organizers have been trying their best to make things as level and fair as possible, as us ladies can’t reach the distances that the men regularly hit”

There have been some critics relating to male and female players in the competition teeing off from different boxes. “It’s no different to what happens in our respective tours,” says Green. “Clearly there must be some method of compensating for physical differences, and this is by far the best way. It’s that initial yardage advantage that is taken away – everything after that is the same and relies on the same standard of approach play and putting.”

Besides, sitting at 6,768 yards in length, the Barooga Golf Course is still a stern test for any player.

“The TPS event organizers have been trying their best to make things as level and fair as possible. Ultimately, we don’t want to see different players using different clubs for their approach shots after a drive. If the men are using a wedge into the green, then the women need to be able to do the same. So, it’s great that the TPS guys have been able to incorporate that and the longer that happens, we’ll play.”

It also bodes well that fellow female players Grace Kim finished T4 on -15 with fellow amateur Momoka Kobori, as well as LPGA professional Cassie Porter, a shot further back in T10.

It seems that the possibility of further female wins is likely, perhaps without the ‘shoey’ next time…

WHAT NEXT? Find out how Brooke Henderson has forged herself to be a closer when the pressure is on in our RSNG interview…

Photos: REX