Toronto, Canada – By Mark Lamport-Stokes
KAPALUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - Nathan Green was indebted to an ill-fated spectator at the SBS Championship on Thursday after the Australian mad a complete mess of the par-three eighth hole in the opening round.
Green's tee shot ended up in waist-high weeds to the left and he pulled his next shot even further away from the putting surface as his club twisted in the grass. Had the ball not struck a girl in the arm, it would have been in deeper trouble.
From there, the fortunate Australian was able to get up-and-down for a bogey when a much bigger number had been on the cards.
"It would have been probably unplayable," Green told reporters of where his second shot could have finished. "It would have been probably double (bogey) or triple.
"It sort of ricocheted five yards left. It definitely saved me a shot or two and I gave her the ball and the glove."
Green's good fortune appeared to act as a catalyst for a strong end to his round and he recorded five birdies over the next 10 holes to end the day just one stroke off the lead after firing a six-under-par 67.
"It was pretty unexpected but that's the way it's been the last three or four months," the New South Wales native said.
"I will have a really good round, it sort of comes out of nowhere. That's the way it was today. I just had one of those days where I didn't make too many mistakes."
Green, one of seven players making their debuts in the 28-strong field at Kapalua, will go into Friday's second round a stroke behind pacesetting American Lucas Glover.
(Editing by John O'Brien)