It has been a world-beating 24 hours in sport for Australian women, with three reaching the pinnacles of their sports in less than 24 hours.
First, skyrocketing tennis star Ashleigh Barty was named world No.1, then Perth golfer Hannah Green triumphed at the women’s PGA, and Sally Fitzgibbons rose to the top of world surfing after winning the Rio Pro in Brazil.
The 28-year-old Fitzgibbons prevailed 14.64 to 12.57 over former world champion Carissa Moore in clean 4 to 5 foot surf at the beachbreak of Saquarema on Sunday.
The win, Fitzgibbons’ first since the 2017 Margaret River Pro, adds to her three other podium finishes in 2019 to give her the yellow jersey at the halfway point of the season.
Earlier, Barty capped a remarkable comeback from a 21-month hiatus by becoming Australia’s first women’s world No.1 tennis player in 43 years.
She claimed her third title of a phenomenal 2019 season at the Birmingham Classic late on Sunday night (Australian time). With the world’s top tennis ranking in hand, the 23-year-old Queenslander heads to Wimbledon next week as the top seed.
“You always dream of it as a little kid for it but to become a reality, it’s just incredible. It really is,” Barty said.
Australia’s first WTA world No.1, Evonne Goolagong Cawley was among the first to congratulate Barty.
“In 2019, with all the pieces in place, her rise has been almost unstoppable,” Goolagong Cawley said on Monday.
“Ash is a very worthy No.1 and winning at the French will have given her even more confidence.”
Over at Hazeltine, Green beat defending champion Sung Hyun Park of South Korea by one shot to claim her first victory on the LGPA Tour. She is the first Australian woman since Karrie Webb in 2006 to win a major.
Webb was among those to celebrate with Green, having brought the 22-year-old to the US four years ago as part of her scholarship program.
Green, in only her second full year on the LPGA Tour, is the first wire-to-wire winner of this major since 2011.
“I’m pretty much speechless,” said Green. “I was really nervous the last five holes and just really – I made a clutch putt and that was kind of got me through another one.”
Fitzgibbons was delighted with her win in Brazil.
“Just coming in and receiving that welcome back to the beach, that was insane, and some of my mates cheering me up the beach and a big hug from my dad,” she said.
“And I know my mum’s watching out there with all my family and friends, and just the team that had my back, so it’s all part of the process and they’ve all chipped in and it’s pretty cool to be standing here.”