Hannah Green defends title at 2024 JM Eagle LA Champ, Grace Kim let victory slip away

Hannah Green delivered a title defense at the JM Eagle LA Championship by snatching victory from Grace Kim and finishing three shots under Maja Stark at 12-under.
JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro - Final Round
JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro - Final Round / Harry How/GettyImages

In the first two rounds of the JM Eagle LA Championship, it looked like Grace Kim was going to secure her second LPGA title. But the poor results that occurred during her third round continued into the final day, with the 23-year-old only finding bogeys at the Wilshire Country Club course. Even her near-birdie on the 18th hole failed her, with the young golfer posting a final 1-under score, a major decline from her 12-under that had included an eagle on Day 2.

While Kim’s game wilted, she watched her compatriot capitalize, with Australia’s Hannah Green maintaining a cool demeanor as she sailed up the leader board on Day 4, which included a spectacular eagle on the 15th hole.

"When I chipped in on 12 I kind of felt like I really snagged one there," Green said, according to the LPGA. "I really like the 13th hole and also played the 15th really well. When I made eagle on 15 that kind of sealed the deal. I did see Maja got it to 9 under so I know what I needed to do. Usually, I make it really tricky on myself and only win by a shot."

Testament to Kim, she graciously was the first to congratulate Green with a generous dousing of water while their fellow Aussies added to the melee with champagne.

With the win, Green is the first on the tour to defend an LPGA title since Jin Young Ko did at the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year. It was also Green’s fifth LPGA title, which also includes her major at the 2019 Women’s PGA Championship.

"It's really kind to me," Green said about the Los Angeles course. "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."

It was Maja Stark’s second straight runner-up finish, having come in behind Nelly Korda’s record fifth-in-a-row victory at the Chevron Championship. Stark began strongly in the first round, with six birdies, but mistakes in the third round cost her, including a double bogey on the fifth hole. She rebounded on the final day, making birdies on the back nine, right up until the last hole, but it just fell short of catching up to Green, who confidently surged ahead of the pack.

"I'm really proud of the way I've played," Stark said via LPGA. "I feel like I've hit a lot of good shots and I feel like my nerves kind of took over for a little while, but I was always able to get back to the normal — my normal state of mind."

 The next LPGA tournament is the Cognizant Founders Cup in Clifton, NJ beginning May 9.

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