2017 Awards: Bouquet #2

As 2017 draws to a close it’s time to reflect on some of the highlights and low-lights of another fascinating year in the game. 

We’ll be nominating Bouquets, Brickbats and Landmark Moments over the Christmas period including this bouquet for the stunning rookie season of 21-year-old West Australian professional Hannah Green whose three wins on the Symetra Tour have earned her the right to play the LPGA Tour in 2018.

Green’s golfing pedigree was already established before she entered the play-for-pay ranks in October last year.

But even with victories in the Dunes Medal and Victorian Amateur Championships, a runner-up finish behind Lydia Ko at the New Zealand Open in 2015, a semi-final appearance at the Australian Amateur, a Round of 32 effort at the US Amateur and plenty of worldly experience courtesy of Golf Australia, few would have predicted what 2017 would bring so soon after turning pro.

Green had earned the right to play the Symetra Tour through the LPGA Tour qualifying in late 2016 and although she did have conditional status on the LPGA Tour in 2017 she made the decision to commit to a full season on what is essentially the feeder tour to the LPGA instead of taking her chances while getting the occasional start at the higher level.

“I really had a horrible final round mentally (at the 2016 LPGA Q School),” Green told The iSeekGolf Podcast in May. “I don’t know whether the pressure got to me and played myself out of a card but on reflection several of the girls who got conditional status have struggled to get starts on the LPGA and by choosing to play the Symetra Tour has perhaps been a blessing in disguise.

“I am glad at least I have somewhere to play full time and not have to just wait and practice for the Tour School to come around again.”  

It certainly proved to be the right choice for Green as she very quickly found her feet, not only in the paid ranks but in the US after a very encouraging 7th place finish at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide, a finish that might have had her thinking that her limited status on the LPGA Tour was worth pursuing.

She stuck to her guns however and stayed with the Symetra Tour where in just her fourth event she won and then followed that up with a series of consistently good finishes before two wins late in the season.  

The second of those wins came in mid-September when a final round of 64 saw her all but guarantee her place among the top 10 who would graduate to the LPGA Tour in 2018.

Green finished off an already sensational rookie season with one final win two weeks later and she would eventually finish runner-up on the money list with earnings of US$113,000; not a fortune admittedly but it was a case of mission accomplished with the right to play the holy grail of women’s golf in her second season as a pro.

“The rookies who graduated in the 2016 season from the Symetra Tour have pretty much had the chance to play pretty much a full season other than the Asian Swing which is all done on money list rather than on categories.”

Green's capacity to turn contention into victory will stand her in good stead when she joins Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith, Su Oh and Karrie Webb as Australians with full status on the LPGA Tour in 2018.


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