Jaye Marie Green feels ‘truly blessed’ after bicycle accident

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BELLEAIR – A split second reaction probably saved Jaye Marie Green’s life. But it also put her golfing career in jeopardy.

Riding a motorized bike that can reach speeds of 30 mph down a busy street on her way to dinner in May in Jupiter, Green hit a sidewalk, knocking her off balance.

She took off the bike, barely missing the passing cars. Her shoulder, face and knees dug into the concrete and she fractured her right elbow.

But things could have been worse for the 26-year-old Fort Lauderdale native, who managed to steer the bike away from traffic. Her father, Donnie, calls her a “walking blessing.”

“I’m just happy to be alive and feel really blessed,” Green said. “There (were) definitely angels around me, 100%. It’s really hard to explain.

Related: Sophia Popov two return shots after the second round of the Pelican Women’s Championship

Doctors were worried about Green’s future in golf, as at first she couldn’t straighten her elbow beyond a 90-degree angle. She took 10 weeks to fully recover from the fracture.

Her return to golf was not easy, but she did come back. The Pelican Women’s Championship this week at the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair is her seventh LPGA Tour event since the crash.

Green shot 2-under 68 Thursday, his best opening round scoring in over a year. She followed that up with a 4 of 74 on Friday, putting her at 2 for the tournament, tied for 37th.

The timing of the crash was frustrating for Green. Having already missed months of playing time due to the coronavirus pandemic, she knew her injuries would keep her out for the first four or five events after touring resumed.

Related: Lexi Thompson makes a hole in one at the Pelican Women’s Championship

She was also worried about how she would perform when she got back. But she understood that her recovery from her injuries, which also included a concussion, couldn’t be rushed.

“I still have little things, like, in my head, like my brain hurts sometimes,” Green said. “It’s like some things that I forget, that I know, and it scares me, and then I really don’t remember because I’m panicking. I think it’s just post concussion syndrome so you should be fine.

Time spent away from class helped put things in perspective. Golf is no longer Green’s No.1 priority, even though she has devoted the last 15 years of her life to the sport.

“I think I realized that I had found a lot of my identity in golf, so I kinda felt really depressed,” she said. “I was like, I’m not a person now. And then it was cool. I started going to church a lot and found my identity somewhere else, so that makes life so much better. I just feel happy all the time.

How Tampa Bay area players fared

Brittany Altomare watches her putt on the 11th hole in Thursday’s first round. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

Tampa resident Elizabeth Szokol had five birdies and a single bogey while shooting 4 under 66. She went down to 5 under 135 for the tournament – a career low for 36 holes – and in fifth place, three shots behind leader Sei Young Kim.

“(It) feels good,” Szokol said. “I was playing well, so it’s good to put in two good rounds before the weekend.”

Brittany Lincicome, a native of Seminole and a resident of Gulfport, shot 2 of 72, slipping to 1 for the tournament, tied for 25th. She had a birdie and three bogeys.

“I have a long way to go to get back to the top after today,” she said. “But I am very grateful. I still have two days to attack this golf course.

Related: LPGA tournament in Belleair a “ blessing ” for Brittany Lincicome

Lincicome said the wind, measured at 10 to 15 mph on Friday, was a factor the first two days. She said a thinner treeline than she remembered in the past leaves the course more exposed to the elements.

“It makes it a lot more difficult,” said Lincicome. “(Thursday) I made every putt imaginable but they were all par because I only hit eight greens, and (Friday) I wasn’t doing any of that. I hit more greens, but was not performing very well. Maybe (Saturday) is my day.

Jessica Korda from Bradenton shot 3 of 73, including two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 # 14 hole. But seven bogeys pulled her down to 2 points for the tournament, tied for 37th.

Brittany Altomare of Tampa was also 2 points after two days, shooting by 70 in the second round.

Contact Mari Faiello at [email protected]. To pursue @faiello_mari.

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