Hannah Green Emerges as a Hollywood Star on Sunday
By Amy Rogers
There’s nothing like a Hollywood drama and the City of Angels served up a real nail-biter for the final round of the inaugural JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro, with Hannah Green emerging as the star, and the winner, on the second playoff hole.
It took a three-person playoff to determine the winner at Wilshire Country Club, where Aditi Ashok and Xiyu Lin, each chasing a first win on the LPGA Tour, went to extra holes with Green, a two-time winner and major champion, who was searching for her first win in four years.
The trio returned to the par 3 18th hole, a hole they each birdied in regulation to force a playoff. Ashok was eliminated on the first extra hole when she failed to make birdie to match Lin and Green, who comfortably advanced to the second playoff hole and returned once more to the 18th tee.
On the second trip to the par 3, Lin’s tee shot caught the greenside bunker to the right of the green and she left her second shot from the sand well short of the hole. Green, who was safely on the putting surface, lagged her first putt up to within tap in range to put the pressure on Lin, who was unable to get up and down. Green two-putted for par and the win to capture her third career win on the LPGA Tour and first win since 2019.
“It’s been a long few years and I played really well last year but getting across the line has been really difficult,” said Green, as tears streamed down her face during her post-round interview with Golf Channel. “I’m proud of myself for hanging in there.”
Saturday, Green closed with five birdies in her final six holes to put herself two back of the lead. But she didn't get off to such a hot start on Sunday. She made 14 consecutive pars before rolling in her first birdie of the day at the 15th and then closed with a 30-footer for birdie at the par 3 18th hole to shoot 69 and earn a spot in the playoff.
“I knew you didn't need a low score today to win. I feel like this weekend played a lot different to the first couple days, so my caddie just said, stay patient,” Green said after her victory. “You always try and do that, but it's harder said than done. I'm just really proud for holing that putt in regulation on 18 and obviously the putt the last couple holes.”
Sunday, Ashok came away with her career best finish on the LPGA Tour and Lin matched her best finish with a tie for second.
Third-round leader Cheyenne Knight took a two-stroke lead into the final round but made three bogeys in her first seven holes to open the door to a jam-packed leaderboard. Although she bounced back with two birdies on the back nine, a critical error at the par 5 15th hole would cost her the championship.
At the 15th hole Knight hit her second shot out of bounds after her ball took an unlucky bounce off a rock in the barranca and then kareemed into the fence bordering Beverly Boulevard. Knight made a double bogey to fall out of what had been a five-way tie at the top. The 54-hole leader came to the 18th hole needing a hole-in-one at the closing par 3 in order to get into the playoff but two-putted from 10 feet for par to finish the week with a two over par round of 73.
“I wanted to go for the green, and I went for it the other day it was up, and it was just a bad swing,” Knight said about her second shot at the 15th hole. “I just didn't play that well. I haven't been in contention in a while, so just learned from it. My game is right there. Just use this as a learning experience and just take it into the next few events.”
Ayaka Furue and Ruoning Yin finished in a share of fourth at eight under par and one stroke outside the playoff.
Yin began the final round five-strokes back of the lead and looked poised on the back nine to capture the season’s L.A. Slam, having won the Tour’s first stop in the City of Angels in March at the DIO Implant LA Open. Yin recorded her sixth birdie of the day at the par 4 15th to take the outright lead at 10-under par, but she struggled on the inward stretch with back-to-back bogeys at the 17th and 18th holes to close with a final round of 67.
“I hit 14 fairways and 14 greens. Like I said a couple days ago, my long game is in a really solid spot right now,” Yin said on Sunday. “Today I gave myself a lot of chances to make birdie, and just the last two holes didn't go well.”
Nelly Korda, the world’s top-ranked player, finished the week with a final round of 67 to record her sixth top 10 finish in seven starts this season.