Nathan Green excited by over achievement
Short of winning a PGA Tour title, life could hardly be much better for Australian rookie Nathan Green.
The 30-year-old from New South Wales finished fifth on his Tour debut at the Sony Open in Hawaii earlier this month before losing out to Tiger Woods in a three-way playoff for the Buick Invitational on Sunday.
"I had an absolute ball this week and was happy with the way I played," Green told reporters at Torrey Pines after a bogey-six at the first extra hole forced him to settle for a share of second place.
"I wasn't expecting to play with this many good players this early in the season. The crowds were unbelievable, just a totally different experience for me, well out of the comfort zone."
The Australian was joined as tournament runner-up by Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, who missed a three-foot par putt at the second extra hole to gift a record fourth Buick Invitational title to Woods.
For a while in the final round, former crematorium worker Green held the overall lead and was determined to make the most of his opportunity.
He holed a lob wedge approach from 77 yards for an eagle-two at the par-five 13th, the ball bouncing a yard beyond the cup before screwing back, to move two shots clear at 11 under.
"I was pretty much shitting myself for the last six holes out there," he said. "My head was racing and I was just trying to give myself every chance I could at trying to win it.
"I just didn't want to lose it, that was the main thing. I just wanted to try to get in the clubhouse."
Green, who qualified for the PGA Tour after finishing 18th on the 2005 Nationwide Tour, faltered with bogeys on 15 and 17 but signed off in style with a seven-foot birdie putt at the last to get into the playoff.
"I hit it and just hoped it was going somewhere near the hole, and it went in," he said. "That was one of the biggest rushes you could have."
Although he messed up the first extra hole after being the only one of the three contenders to find the fairway off the tee, Green conceded he had hugely over-achieved at Torrey Pines.
"I wasn't expecting a great deal," he said after scores of 67, 70, 69 and 72 gave him a 72-hole total of 10-under 278.
"I played really well the first day, and that got me settled in. Second day, I was just trying to shoot somewhere around par. I felt pretty comfortable after the second round.
"To come over and achieve what I've achieved I couldn't have scripted it any better than that," added Green, who once worked in a crematorium managed by his parents in Valentine, Australia.
"I've sort of overachieved on what ability I think I have. I'm just going to try and keep the same attitude up for the rest of the year.
"If things go well, they go well. It's the best job in the world, so I'm just going to try and enjoy it while I'm here."