Nelly Korda’s top threat at U.S. Women’s Open? It could be this budding star

hannah green stands during the final round of the 2024 mizuho americas open

Hannah Green is in the midst of one of the best seasons of her career.


LANCASTER, Pa. — Nelly Korda stands on the 15th green at Lancaster Country Club and surveys the tilted putting surface. The turf is firm beneath her, and her Titleist golf balls make a satisfying thud as she drops them at her feet. Nearby, her caddie, Jason McDede, plops down flat rubber cylinders in spots they predict the USGA might cut hole locations later this week.

This is a typical scene in the days leading up to a tournament. Players and caddies and coaches walk the course and map out the game plan for the week. Don’t miss right here. Stay below the hole there. Avoid this bunker at all costs. It’s tedious work, but necessary for those with ambitions of hoisting the trophy on Sunday evening. Competing on this exacting a course setup without playing a practice round (or several) is like piloting a 737 without a flight plan — doable but highly discouraged.

As Korda walks off the green, a mass of fans scurries outside the ropes to the next tee box. They’re jockeying for the best position to catch a glimpse of the hottest golfer on the planet. Even though it’s just Wednesday, the crowd following the world No. 1 is already larger than weekend galleries for most players. When you win six tournament in eight starts, you get a taste of the Tiger treatment.

Korda is the undisputed early-week favorite here in Lancaster — and for good reason. No golfer has been more successful nor drawn more eyeballs this year than the 25-year-old. With a win, she’d have seven victories before the calendar turns to June, and her quest for the Grand Slam would be 40 percent complete.

“I’ve definitely played some really solid golf,” Korda said earlier this week. That’s a bit of an understatement when you break it down. Of the 12 tournaments played this year, half have been won by Korda. Stars Rose Zhang and Lydia Ko have each won a tournament a piece, with Patty Tavatanakit and Bailey Tardy each nabbing a win as well.

The other two events have — quietly — been won by the second-hottest player in women’s golf: Hannah Green.

hannah green hits a drive during a practice round for the 2024 u.s. women's open
Hannah Green has quietly been the second-best player in women’s golf this year. USGA

Two holes ahead of Korda, Green goes through a similar ritual as every other player in the field, scouting the course and mapping out her plan for the week. She’s playing alongside a young Swede, Maja Stark, while her husband and swing coach walk along with her inside the ropes.

Between holes, Green stops to sign some souvenirs for a couple of fans. But while there are a few autograph-seekers, the crowd is nothing like the one following Korda.

That’s just how Green, a 27-year-old Australian, likes it.

“I’m kind of happy to be outside the limelight,” she says. “I just wanted to make sure that my golf is performing and what happens after that I’ll take as it comes.”

So far this year, that golf has been good — like, really good. In eight LPGA starts, Green has won twice. She added a T18 at the Founders Cup. The following week, she took Korda to the wire, losing to the top-ranked star on the final hole at Liberty National.

That stretch has vaulted Green to a career-best 5th in the world ranking and second in the Race to CME Globe standings. If there were a hottest golfers in the world, non-Nelly division, Green would be at the top.

“It just feels different this year,” Green says. “We have so many great tournaments coming up, I hope I can continue this form.”

If she can, the Aussie may have the best chance of anyone to take down Korda this week.

Green can’t quite point to what is different about this year.

Perhaps it’s the long offseason she afforded herself, or the work she’s put in with swing coach Ritchie Smith. Or maybe it’s the happiness in the aftermath of her marriage to her longtime beau, Jarryd Felton. All she knows is that 2024 has been one of the best years of her life between the ropes.

“I actually feel like I haven’t been as aggressive as I have been the last few years,” Green says. “I’ve played a lot better in these last two years, but not as consistent as I would like. I think I’ve finally been able to put those rounds together.”

That calculated approach has Green second on Tour in scoring average this season to (who else?) Korda. She’s also inside the top 10 in Rounds in the 60s, par-4 scoring average and top 10s.

“I feel like I’ve actually been hitting the ball better and just making everything work a little bit better,” Green says. “I wouldn’t say that my ball-striking or my putting has been significantly better. It’s just shaping it all together has been really nice this year.”

Golf is funny like that. One day, the ball refuses to go in the hole. The next, the cup looks like a basketball hoop. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Sometimes, everything just clicks. If not for Korda’s historic run, Green would be the talk of women’s golf. Not that it bothers her to cede the spotlight to her friend/rival.

“It’s hard not to put more pressure on yourself when you are doing media and things like that,” Green says. “I don’t feel bad that I’m in the limelight or that I’m not. I just want to keep trying to get trophies in my hands and play as good as I can.”

Heading into the first round of this U.S. Women’s Open, that game plan appears to be well intact.

hannah green looks during the 2024 u.s. women's open at lancaster country club
Hannah Green is looking to win her second-career major this week. USGA

Green leaves the interview area in the Lancaster C.C. parking lot and walks toward the putting green. It’s only 1 p.m. local time, but she’s ready to call it a day at the course. There’s only so much prep one can do on the eve of a major championship, and Green is keen to rest her legs.

“This course is so hilly,” she says. “I want to rest as much as I can before tomorrow.”

Her tee time for the opening round is not until mid-afternoon, but with a late-early draw, she won’t have much time to recover between Rounds 1 and 2. She’s eager to use the rest of the day to kick up her feet and prepare for the four grueling days ahead.

But first, she wants to roll a few putts. Green is using a new center-shafted Scotty Cameron this year, and as long as it keeps behaving, it’s got a spot in the bag indefinitely. Before she can get to the center of the putting green to start her routine, a small group of fans wave her over for pictures and autographs.

If she’s the one hoisting the trophy come Sunday night, those crowds will only continue to grow.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at

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