PALOS VERDES ESTATES, Calif. (AP) — Hannah Green retained the lead in the Palos Verdes Championship on Saturday after a frustrating start on the hilly, windswept course perched high above the Pacific Ocean.
Three strokes ahead of Lydia Ko and three other players going into the day, Green overcame bogeys on the first two holes to shoot a 1 of 72 and take a one-stroke lead over playing partner Ko in the final round.
“I got off to a horrible start, I guess you could say,” Green said. “Too often let myself go too often today so I was pretty happy with the 1-over score. Just hit a few fun corners and also didn’t read the lies and direction the wind.
Green closed the bogey-eagle-bogey-birdie back nine and also dropped a shot on the par-4 12th. The Aussie birdied the par-5 16th and parried the final two to finish 8-under 205 in the freshman event that caps the LPGA Tour’s two-week stay in the area. Los Angeles.
“It’s tough,” Green said. “You know there are opportunities on this golf course, but you also know there are some difficult holes. You just have to be patient like on all other golf courses, but it’s difficult when Lydia breathe in the back and that there are so many good scores earlier in the day.
Ko shot a 70, also overcoming a poor start. The New Zealander had a double bogey on the second par-4 and a bogey on the fourth par-4.
“I think I made it a bit harder than it was,” Ko said. “But considering how I started, to finish under par for the day, towards the up and beyond.”
She rallied with five birdies, the last a 30-footer on the 16th. She bugged the par-3 17th and saved par with a 7-footer on the par-4 18th.
“It was really windy,” Ko said. “I think there is a huge difference between playing in the morning and in the afternoon. which made things a little easier.
Ranked third in the world, Ko won the Gainbridge LPGA in Boca Rio in January for her 17th LPGA Tour title.
Green won both of her LPGA Tour titles in 2019, winning the KPMG Women’s PGA Major at Hazeltine and the Portland Classic. She was second to Nasa Hataoka a week ago at the Los Angeles Open at the Whilshire Country Club.
Lexi Thompson went from tied for 37th to tied for third at 5 under with a 66, starting more than 2 1/2 hours ahead of Green and Ko in the final group. She is making her first start since finishing fourth four weeks ago at Mission Hills in the first major championship of the year.
“The first two days were a bit difficult with the ball hitting, but they came together today,” Thompson said. “I had a good shooting session yesterday after my round and I figured out a few things. I just felt confident going in today.
Allisen Corpuz (68) was also 5 under with Gemma Dryburgh (68), Inbee Park (70), Marina Alex (70), Andrea Lee (70), Annie Park (71), Megan Khang (72) and leader of the first tower Minjee Lee (72 years old).
Inbee Park chipped in for the Eagle on 16 for a share of the lead with at 7 under, then bogeyed the final two holes.
Top-ranked Jin Young Ko was 4 under after a 73.
Anna Davis, the winner of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, finished 2 after a 72 in her first start on the LPGA Tour. The 16-year-old is from Spring Valley, east of San Diego. She received a sponsorship waiver.
“Being able to play on the weekend in an event on the LPGA Tour is a really good experience,” Davis said. “Looking forward to many more, that’s for sure.”