Green succeeds with great support system

Jaye Marie Green with her dad/caddie Donnie during the Round of 16 at the 112th U. S. Women's Amateur Championship. Green defeated Lisa McCloskey to advance to Round of 16.

CLEVELAND -– If there are six degrees of separation between anyone in Hollywood and Kevin Bacon, there were two degrees of separation between Jaye Marie Green and anonymity here at the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Green got a new set of TaylorMade irons a month ago that were two degrees flat. The clubs felt so off during the first round of stroke-play qualifying that Green hoped she’d simply make the cut.

Green’s father Donnie, a PGA Teaching Professional at Broken Sound, spent Monday afternoon at The Country Club going back and forth between the range and the loft/lie machine until each club in Jaye Marie’s bag felt like an extension of her hand.

“The irons sing for her now,” Donnie Green said.

Jaye Marie, an 18-year-old from Boca Raton who decided to forgo a scholarship at Florida to go to LPGA Q-School this fall, took down Lisa McCloskey on the 18th green to advance to the quarterfinals.

Neither McCloskey nor Green carded a bogey in a rare All-American showdown. The two soon-to-be professionals put on a fine display of talent Thursday afternoon once the morning rain had cleared. Green took control of the match on the par-5 16th when she hit the green in two and two-putted for birdie.

At the Kraft Nabisco Championship last spring, Green picked up two TaylorMade Rocketballz fairway metals and an R11 driver. Between the 3 wood and driver, Green picked up an extra 40 yards. For the first time in her career, she could hit par 5s in two and it rocked her world.

Green sat in the player locker room on Wednesday afternoon scrambling to find herself on the Golf Channel broadcast.

“I never see myself on TV,” Green lamented. She badly wanted to win two matches for her mother’s birthday on Thursday, and excitedly gave her a shout-out after birdieing the 18th hole against McCloskey. (Hopefully someone DVR’d that.)

There’s not a more friendly family in the amateur game than the Greens. Donnie, whose nickname is “Purple” (apparently a cousin to the color green), sports a head of hair that needs its own agent. The thick yellow-white mop stands straight up without a hint of hair spray. It bears a strong resemblance to those visors that come with fake hair attached.

“It’s just a strong hair root,” said Donnie, whose grandfather and father sported the same look.

“Every day I wake up I don’t know what I’m going to look like.”

Jaye Marie embraces her father’s wacky hair. Donnie has been Jaye Marie’s lone instructor since she took up the game at age 11 and plans to caddie for her that first year on the LPGA, assuming she qualifies this winter.

After that, Donnie’s longtime friend Kip Henley will take over. Henley currently loops for Brian Gay and got some attention earlier this year when he shooed away an alligator with a rake so his boss could chip. He seems a fitting character to replace Donnie’s hair.

Last month, TV cameras caught Donnie doing a little jig at the U.S. Women’s Open. Not long after, he and Jaye Marie were playing a Q-School practice round at LPGA International when a man came tearing through the woods running toward them. Donnie’s first instinct was that he was coming to rob them. Then he told Jaye Marie the man might be her fan.

Nope, he recognized the hair.

“What do I have to do?” Jaye Marie said with a laugh.

The decision to skip college wasn’t taken lightly. Jaye Marie and her parents made the trek up to Gainesville to sit down with then coach Jan Dowling. Donnie told Dowling he felt the situation was similar to a scene in “Wedding Crashers,” when the father announces that he’s going to stand behind his daughter’s decision on whom to marry.

“This is my ‘Wedding Crashers’ moment,” Donnie said.

“She might make it and she might not, but walk beside your daughter. What’s wrong with that?”

With that kind if support system, nothing at all.

• • •

ROUND OF 16

Nicole Zhang def. Hyo-Joo Kim, 1 up

Su-Hyun Oh def. Jayvie Marie Agojo, 4 and 3

Jaye Marie Green def. Lisa McCloskey, 2 up

Marijosse Navarro def. Madeleine Sheils, 3 and 1

Lydia Ko def. Celine Boutier, 1 up

Paula Reto def. Jessica Vasilic, 4 and 2

Ariya Jutanugarn def. Ashlee Dewhurst, 3 and 2

Erynne Lee def. Austin Ernst, 2 and 1

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