Defending champion Hannah Green back on top at Portland Classic
PORTLAND, Ore. – Hannah Green had to wait an extra day to open her title defense in the Cambria Portland Classic. Once she got going, about the only thing that slowed her was a 1 1/2-hour lightning delay and fading light.
Green shot a 6-under 66 on Friday at Columbia Edgewater for a share of the lead with Cydney Clanton in the LPGA Tour event reduced to 54 holes because of poor air quality caused by wildfires. Green was able to finish in fading light, while many other afternoon starters were still on the course when darkness suspended play.
”I’m super happy that we finished and super happy with my round,” Green said. ”I did bogey my last hole, but obviously did some great things out there. Putted really well, so I need to continue that. I’m kind of glad that I have a quick turnover. Hopefully, I can continue the momentum tomorrow.”
The 23-year-old Australian, also the major KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner in a breakthrough 2019 season, birdied four of the first five holes and returned from the weather break to add another on the par-5 seventh. After missing birdie chances on the two back-nine par 5s, she birdied the par-3 13th and 16th and closed with a bogey on the par-4 18th just before sunset.
Last year, she matched the tournament 72-hole scoring record at 21 under.
”It’s obviously really soft,” Green said. ”We’ve had a lot of rain today, so it’s very different conditions to last year. So you can be quite attacking I guess with the pins, but a few of them actually spun a lot, so you’ve got to be careful with what club you chose.”
Clanton birdied five of the last eight holes in her morning round. The American teamed with Jasmine Suwannapura last year to win the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.
”I hit the ball really well, but I’ve been hitting the ball really well, and the putter was finally hot,” Clanton said. ”I finally made some putts. It’s also nice to hit some really close and had a par 5 in two have a two-putt. So, it was really nice to see the ball starting to go in the hole.”
Caroline Masson, Amy Olson, Gaby Lopez and Mel Reid shot 67, and Yealimi Noh also was 5 under with a hole left.
Masson had a new driver in the bag.
”I struggled a little bit with the driver the last few weeks,” Masson said. ”Definitely found something that’s a lot more comfortable and a lot more solid. Just I think given me a little bit of confidence off the tee. It was just nice, especially on a tighter course like this. From there, it was pretty solid.”
Suwannapura, Azahara Munoz, Mo Martin and Pornanong Phatlum shot 68.
”I love this place. I love tree-lined courses,” Munoz said. ”It’s always in such good condition, so I always love coming to Portland. It’s playing so different though. Normally, it’s pretty bouncy, really firm and bouncing on the fairways. Now it’s super soft, so it’s very different.”
Mirim Lee, the ANA Inspiration winner Sunday, shot 70. She beat Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson in a playoff in the California desert for her first major title. Korda and Henderson, the 2015 and 2016 winner at Columbia Edgewater, withdrew because of the air conditions.
Sophia Popov shot 71 in her first start as an LPGA Tour member. The German won the Women’s British Open, but missed the ANA Inspiration because the field was set in April when it was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australian amateur Gabriela Ruffels also had a 71. The University of Southern California senior tied for 15th in the ANA Inspiration. She won the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Season points leader Danielle Kang matched 2017 winner Stacy Lewis with a 72.