Aussie Hannah Green (66) soars once more to win JM Eagle

Aussie Hannah Green (66) soars once more to win JM Eagle

By Jeff Babineau


Real estate can get rather pricey around the swanky neighborhoods of Los Angeles, highly coveted turf that sits guarded beneath that famous Hollywood sign perched high in the hills. That’s good news for Hannah Green. She may hail from nearly 10,000 miles away, in Australia, but in glitzy Los Angeles, she owns a golf course.


OK, so maybe she doesn't possess the deed. But close. Green, 27, once again proved herself to be the reigning ruler at Wilshire Country Club, producing a magical final round to repeat as champion of the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro. Playing in the final pairing of the day on Sunday alongside fellow Aussie Grace Kim, who led the tournament for three days, Green separated herself on the back nine of a difficult course with a blistering five-hole blitz that left her opponents to play for second place.


Green, who began Sunday with a share of the lead and a couple of hours in was protecting a slim advantage, started her memorable run with a 25-foot chip-in birdie at the 180-yard 12th, birdied the par-5 13th  (7 feet), and after a stress-free par at 14, delivered the door-slammer with a 30-foot eagle putt from just off the green at the 528-yard 15th. It doubled her lead from two strokes to four.


For good measure, Green stuffed an approach to 3 feet at the par-4 16th and made birdie there, too. (In this town, that’s what is known as an encore.) That’s 5-under in a five-hole stretch at a place that had been pretty stingy in doling out birdies.


On a course that presented a highly difficult test, especially on the weekend, as the firm greens continued to be tricky, Green closed like a true champion, earning her second victory of the LPGA season (and fifth of her career) with one of her best all-around performances yet. Why, in this town, her play was downright Oscar-worthy: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Her 5-under 66 would lift her to 12-under 272 over four days, the only player to finish in double-digits below par on a golf course that Green enjoys like few others.


Green outdistanced Sweden’s Maja Stark (68), who closed strongly, to win by three. Haeran Ryu (69) finished third, six shots behind Green, followed by Jin Young Ko (67), a former World No. 1, and LPGA rookie Jin Hee Im (72), who tied for fourth.


Green and Wilshire have become one of Hollywood’s most glamorous pairings. In her last four trips, Green has finished third, second, first (playoff) and first. In four years, a total of three competitors have finished ahead of her through 72 holes. The course will undergo extensive renovations next year, and the tournament will be back in 2026, so at least that will give the field a break from more dominance from Green. Sunday, she departed with a winner’s check for $562,500 after the tournament bumped its overall purse to $3.75 million, hoping other LPGA hosts will continue to follow suit.


Stark would finish second for the second consecutive week after being a runner-up at Chevron. She is a world-class player at 24, and continues to learn each time she plays. The last two weeks she has discovered that she will hit bad shots and have occasional bad holes, but needs to keep pushing on, knowing that one or two bad holes should not define a round, or potentially a tournament.


Stark shot 3-under 68 on Sunday to get to 9-under, and pushed Green as much as she could. She has played in enough big tournaments to know this: There is no playing defense in golf. If Green was going to run away from the field with a great back nine, there was not much Stark was going to be able to do to slow her down.


“I didn't see much of what she was doing,” said Stark, whose chances at winning took a bad turn at the par-4 16th, where she carried her approach too far after a good drive and finished in a back bunker, from where she made bogey. Stark bounced right back with birdies on her last two holes, making a 14-footer at 18, and counted four birdies over her final six holes. 


The crowd that has adopted Green as her own kept telling Stark through its voracious cheers that Green was up to something significant behind her.


“I just heard a big roar on 17 (where Stark was playing) and that was the eagle (at 15), I think,” she said. “Yeah. So I mean, not much you can do about that. I didn't want to make it too easy for her.”


Grace Kim was phenomenal for the first two days at Wilshire, but struggled throughout the weekend, her early run of birdies (and one eagle) completely drying up. Kim entered Sunday tied for the lead with Green, who is a mentor of sorts. But when Kim missed a 3-footer for par at the par-5 10th, she was 4-over for the round, and tied for eighth, four shots behind Green. After using the putter 36 times on Saturday, she struggled again on Sunday on Wilshire’s poa annua greens, missing several short putts from 4 feet and in, and slid to 25th.


Jin Young Ko, the former World No. 1, made a nice run on Sunday. Starting her day in a tie for 21st, Ko made four birdies through 12 holes, then could not find another. She shot 67 and posted 279 with the leaders just beginning the final nine, but she had started too far back, and it would not be enough.


Green was simply unstoppable. She made only one bogey, that coming early, and when she didn’t hit her best shots, she still seemed to find quality results. The shot into 15 to set up eagle was only possible when her tee shot somehow jumped out of a left-side bunker, giving her the green light to go for the green with her second shot.


“It's really kind to me,” Green said of Wilshire. ‘I felt like a couple times today almost got like a member bounce. I obviously really am fond of the golf club and joked that they didn't approve it with me that they were making alterations.


“I love it here. Such a great atmosphere. Really good crowds this year. Kind of sad we're not returning next year, but looking forward to 2026.”


In two years’ time, at least the LPGA field will know which player it likely will have to beat.


April 28, 2024
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