Australia has three strong chances of another major victory with Hannah Green, Minjee Lee and Stephanie Kyriacou are all inside the top-ten heading into the weekend of the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield.
Green is the best placed of the trio in a tie for fifth after shooting a superb five-under second round 66 to move to five-under par for the tournament – three shots behind South Korean leader In Gee Chun – while Lee and Kyriacou are one shot further back in a share of seventh place.
The 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner came from the clouds to be amongst the contenders on Friday.
For most of the day, Green was clawing her way back to a respectable score after an early bogey at the par-4 third and she reached the turn at one-under, but the game changed completely in the closing stretch as she could do no wrong with her putter to make four birdies in her last five holes.
“I got off to a slow start and made a soft bogey on the third hole but knew there were some opportunities with the holes that were downwind to make a birdie,” Green said.
“Made a good birdie on the fifth hole, and then yeah, just birdied my last three holes and holed some long putts which was nice, because I felt like all of us in the group weren’t doing anything, and it was nice to have one go in and the hole got bigger.
“(Her birdie on 14) was a shot I visualised and saw it come off so that’s always nice as well and I managed to hit it to three-foot so that was nice, quite an easy birdie, I guess you could say and then I actually holed quite a long putt on 16, so that kind of helped with the momentum and two-putt birdie on 17. So nice to get the one on the last in. It looked like it was going to tail off and miss, so luckily it went in.”
Green also may have a good luck charm on her hands this week with her partner Jarryd Felton, who has been playing on the DP World Tour and the Challenge Tour this year, walking the fairways.
“The last time he came and spectated was KPMG in 2019, so he’s got a good record,” Green said.
“I’d love it if I could repeat that but it’s nice to have him out here supporting me, and it’s great that I’m also playing well, too.”
World No.2 Lee was steady in her one-under par round of 70, which included two birdies, but she was unable to take full advantage of her opportunities to move further up the leaderboard.
“I gave myself quite a few birdie opportunities when I hit some good shots in, and then had plenty of putts, like 25 feet for birdie as well,” Lee said.
“I played really smart out there. I couldn’t quite capitalise on my birdie opportunities, so hopefully they will all drop tomorrow.”
Kyriacou, 21, seems to have taken a liking to this event – she finished T13 last year at Carnoustie – and she once again showed that she can match it with the best players in the world with her second round three-under par 68.
The Sydneysider made four birdies on the day and made her move on the back nine with back-to-back birdies at the 11th and 12th before putting an exclamation mark on her round with another at the 18th.
Ladies European Tour regular Whitney Hillier also impressed on Friday with a second round of 69 to move to a tie for 26th at one-under par.
Hillier’s round included three birdies and it was a significant step forward from her rollercoaster one-over par opening effort.
Victorian Su Oh had a tough time meanwhile, as she finished ten-over for the tournament to miss the cut.
Round 2 Scores
Round 3 Tee Times AEST