Perth’s precocious Hannah Green has set her sights on catching a runaway Korean to become just the fourth local golfer to win the Australian Open.
The 21-year-old will start Sunday’s final round at Kooyonga in Adelaide four shots shy of pacesetter Jin Young Ko.
Green carded a superb six-under 66 on Saturday to move to seven-under for the tournament.
Australian legend Karrie Webb collected the last of her five Australian Open titles in 2014 while Jane Crafter (1997) and Jan Stephenson (1977) are the only other local winners.
Webb missed the cut in Adelaide as LPGA Tour rookie Green emerged from her idol’s shadows.
“It was a real shame about Karrie missing the cut but I know she has got different plans,” Green said, referring to Webb’s transition to a part-timer on tour this year.
Green last year won three tournaments and finished second overall on the LPGA Symetra Tour, formerly known as the Futures Tour.
Three weeks ago at her first tournament as a full LPGA card-carrier, she tied for 11th in the Bahamas.
On Saturday, Green posted five birdies on the front nine to lay the platform the day’s lowest round.
“I have played probably my best golf the last three weeks,” she said. “It’s just really nice to be up near the top of the leaderboard and feel all the support from the crowd.”
Green reckoned her Symetra Tour wins were invaluable experience to draw on as she chases Ko.
“You get better at winning when you win more often,” Green said. “If you keep putting yourself in these positions you become more comfortable.
“Obviously this is very early in my career being on the LPGA, but I think I have dealt with it enough for me to feel comfortable out there tomorrow.”
Green will be paired with Ko in Sunday’s showdown.
“You have to notice what (Ko) is doing because you are chasing her,” the West Australian said. “But you can’t get so stuck into her game that you kind of drift of yours. If you do what you need to do and you’re doing it well then maybe she will feel the pressure and she will start to crack.”
Also chasing Ko are her fellow Koreans Sun Young Yoo and Hyejin Choi, tied for third at six-under.
Australia’s top-ranked golfer, world No.17 Minjee Lee, is five-under.