VIENNA -- Team Green is back, thank you very much. Which means there should be an abundance of the familiar hats around Squaw Creek Country Club today.
Tammie Green has always been a gallery favorite in the Mahoning Valley. Her popularity here began because she is a native Ohioan -- and a resident of Somerset, near Zanesville. It grew when she won at Avalon Lakes in 1994 and reached its zenith when she repeated three years later.
In all, Green has had six top-10 finishes here and, with more than $375,000 in career earnings at Valley tournaments, she is the leading money winner in the 12-year history.
It isn't surprising, then, that she enjoys playing here as much as the galleries enjoy cheering for her.
Saturday, Green bounced back from a disappointing first round with a solid, 7-under par 65.
Starting on No. 10, she birdied No. 14 and No. 18; the latter, she thought, jump-started her round.
Green then scored birdies on five of the first seven holes on her second nine. She narrowly missed another birdie chance when she came up just short on No. 9.
"I left a few [birdies] out there," said Green, who was just one stroke off the competitive course record, tied a day earlier by first-round leaders Beth Bader and Kelly Robbins.
The rains that hit mid-day Friday further softened an already-spongy course. There was little roll on the fairways and the greens were quite slow. Those kind of conditions have traditionally favored Green, who is one of the most consistent and on-target hitters on tour.
"You could really shoot darts out there," she said following Saturday's round. "You could just fly it at the flag.
"I [also] rolled it really well.
"I missed a 3-foot birdie putt on 15 and made a long one on 7," she added, "so it all kind of evened out."
The same could be said for Green's first two days here. On Friday, she inexplicably lost her game, mostly off the tee, finishing at 4-over par 76.
"Golf is so different from day to day," she said. "I came into the weekend ready to play super. [Friday's round] just jumped up and got me."
Green just finished her round before the thunderstorms entered the area. She was in the process of working out the kinks at the practice area when the sirens blared.
"Friday, I drove the ball very poorly and I didn't putt well," said Green. "I tried to find it on the range before the rains came."
Instead, she went back to her room and spent some quiet, quality time with her husband Bill and daughter Tina Marie, age 21/2.
Moments like that have changed Green's approach when she's out on the course.
She has always been able to keep her emotions in check, at least outwardly, but often the difference between a champion and a player struggling to make the cut every week is how she keeps her emotions under control.
"I went home and played with my daughter and sat with Bill," said Green of her first-round difficulties. "I don't sweat it, [but] I was disappointed yesterday."
Asked what she did differently, Green struggled to come up with an answer.
"I had the same plan ... today it just worked."
Green probably won't win this tournament; even after Saturday's 65 she begins the final round eight shots off the lead of Kelly Robbins.
Still, a round at or below par will give her a sense of accomplishment.
"Whatever it was, it was working [Saturday]. It sure wasn't working [Friday].
"I'm just happy to be playing tomorrow."
And so will her many fans.
XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write to him at email@example.com.