Green sizzles, teen Li leads Dana Open


After a disastrous opening round by her standards, Hannah Green has bounced back in the best possible way to claw herself into contention at the LPGA’s Dana Open.

The 2019 US Women’s PGA Championship winner fired a nine-under 62 to rocket into a tie for ninth on Friday, after shooting 74 a day earlier.

Green went blemish free, making five birdies on the opening nine followed by another four to post the lowest round of the day at Highland Meadow.

“I never really was thinking about posting numbers. I just wanted to make as many birdies as possible,” Green said.

“Yesterday I really struggled with nearly everything in my game, so today everything was much cleaner and tidier.”

At six under for the tournament, the 25-year-old from Perth now has teenage leader Lucy Li in her sights.

The 19-year-old from California had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the back nine and kept bogeys off her card the rest of the way for a seven-under 64, to give her a 10-under total for a two-shot lead.

Another 19-year-old, Chinese rookie Ruoning Yin, and Carlota Ciganda of Spain each had a 69 to trail Li going into the weekend.

Li is best known for becoming the youngest player in the US Women’s Open when she qualified at age 11 in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2. She has won twice this year on the Epson Tour to secure one of the developmental circuit’s 10 LPGA cards for 2023.

“It definitely gives me kind of the ability to play free just knowing that I have status next year and kind of focusing on some other goals for me, playing in some more LPGA starts and stuff like that,” Li said.

Defending champion Nasa Hataoka (66) and Lexi Thompson (69) were among those three behind.

Li’s run of birdies started on the par-4 12th and she ran off three straight birdies starting on the 14th. Equally critical for the California teenager were a number of par saves, especially No.1 after making the turn.

“I chunked it from being in the middle of the fairway. That was really embarrassing, and I’m glad I was able to save the par there,” Li said.

Li had an exemption to play in Canada last week in the CP Women’s Open, and her tie for ninth got her into the Dana Open.

“It was such a quick turnaround for me. I just played one practice round. I just wanted to play the best that I can,” Li said. “I was looking forward to going home this week actually, but it’s nice to be out here playing on the LPGA. I’m just trying to have a good time.”

Yin earned her card through the LPGA Q-Series last fall. She is 143rd in the Race to the CME Globe and found herself pressing so much and working so hard early in the year that she injured her wrist.

She even played a few Epson Tour events when she wasn’t eligible for the European swing, and that might have aggravated it.

Hye-Jin Choi, who also shared the lead after 18 holes, had a 70 and joined the group at seven-under 135 that included Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan (66) and Caroline Masson (67).

Minjee Lee, who leads the Race to the CME Globe, shot 72 after her opening 67 to be at three under.

Lee is one ahead of compatriot Steph Kyriacou (69).

With Reuters



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