Hannah Green of Australia wins LPGA at Wilshire in playoff

Hannah Green shoots a final round 69 to force a three-way playoff with Xiyu Lin and Aditi Ashok Sunday at the JM Eagle Championship presented by Plastpro. Valley News/David Canales photo

By JILL PAINTER LOPEZ

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hannah Green of Australia made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to join a three-way playoff, and then made par on the second extra hole to win the JM Eagle LA Championship on Sunday at Wilshire Country Club.

In a wild finish that featured a five-way tie for the lead late in the final round, Green made birdie for a 2-under 69 to join Aditi Ashok of India and Xiyu Lin of China in the playoff.

“Pretty much all day I left every putt short,” Green said. “I knew I had to get it to the hole. I knew I needed to hit it a little bit harder than what I had all day. I don’t often get my caddie to read my putt, but I pulled him in for the last hole, and we both saw the same line, so it was nice to have that confidence that I was seeing the correct line, and yeah, just stroked it and it went perfectly in the hole.”

Ashok, who had the 36-hole lead, and Lin each closed with a 67 and were the first to post at 9-under 275. Green and Lin birdied the first playoff hole on the par-3 18th.

Hannah Green lays a kiss on the winner’s trophy after winning in a playoff in the LPGA LA Championship golf tournament at Wilshire Country Club, Sunday, April 30, 2023, in Los Angeles. Valley News/David Canales photo

On the second extra hole at No. 18, Lin hit into a bunker and blasted out to some 18 feet and missed the par putt. That left Green to tap in from 2 feet for her first LPGA win since September 2019.

Green was emotional and wiping away tears after the win.

“It’s been a long few years,” Green said. “I was playing well last year but getting across the line’s been really difficult. I’m proud of myself. I’m really happy.”

Green won for the third time. She captured her lone major in the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA at Hazeltine, and followed it with a win at the Portland Classic that year.

She missed the cut last week at the Chevron Championship and talked to a sports psychologist this week.

This win is right up there with the others.

“I think honestly this one is really important because I feel like this is just going to kick start remembering how to — like learning to win,” Green said. “It’s tough to win golf tournaments. Sometimes you can play your best golf and it not be good enough. You’ve just got to hang in there. I think this is honestly just as big as the first two.”

(L-R) Aditi Ashok, Xiyu Lin and Hannah Green all finish at -9 to go into a 3-way playoff, Hannah Green won on the second playoff hole. Valley News/David Canales photo

Ashok had a 15-foot putt that lipped out on the 18th in the playoff, ending her bid for her first LPGA title. Lin made a 12-foot putt, and Green made a 4-footer to stay in the game.

Green finished second here last year and third the year before at Wilshire. She won $450,000 from the $3 million purse.

Cheyenne Knight, who had a two-shot lead going into the final round, closed with a 2-over 73 and tied for sixth.

Ruoning Yin won in Los Angeles last month at the DIO Implant LA Open at Palos Verdes Golf Club and had a chance to win again. She birdied the par-4 14th to take the lead and then birdied the par-5 15th to build a two-shot lead. But she finished with two bogeys for a 67 to fall to 8 under and miss the playoff.

Hannah Green reacts to sinking a 25-foot birdie on the 18th hole to get into the playoff. Valley News/David Canales photo

She started the day with a mindset to have fun, so her caddie tried to just do that in relaying NBA playoff scores.

“When I was on hole 2, my caddie just talked to me, and he said, ‘Hey, do you want me to tell you the score?’ I was like, ‘Um, no. We’re just having fun here,’” Yin said. “Finally I found out he was talking about the Warriors versus the Kings.

She tied for fourth with Ayaka Furue of Japan, who had a 65.

Nelly Korda, the No. 1 player in women’s golf, had a 67 and tied for sixth.

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