Rose Zhang is the best female amateur in the world and she lived up to that billing as she shot the lowest ever round in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur to take a one-shot lead after day one.
Zhang carded a bogey-free 66 at Champions Retreat to lead the way on six-under-par.
The Stanford sophomore birdied all four of the par fives and added two further birdies on the par-3 sixth and par-3 eleventh holes.
Sweden’s Andrea Lignell, a senior at Mississippi, is the closest challenger to Zhang.
Zhang (19) has dominated the female amateur scene, claiming the Mark H McCormack medal as the world number one amateur for the last three years.
The American has already won the US Women’s Amateur title and the NCAA title and is a clear favourite for the ANWA title this week.
Nobody saw a 66 on the course ahead of play, not even Zhang.
“From the start, I really just wanted to make pars because at Champions Retreat, you never know what you’re going to get,” Zhang said.
“With the ground being so soft and so muddy, I can’t expect anything more than my game today.”
There was drama all over the field with defending champion Anna Davis being hit with a four-shot penalty on her opening hole for lift, cleaning and placing her ball in the rough despite the rule only being applied for balls in the fairway.
The seventeen-year-old’s opening two shots were in light rough, and she picked up the ball to clean off the mud both times. That became a two-shot penalty for each instance.
Davis was notified about a potential penalty on the fourth hole, which she went on to double-bogey. She played her final fourteen-holes in three-under and what she thought was a battling 72 turned into a four-over 76 after her opening five turned into a nine.
“If you look at my score on four, you’ll see how it affected me,” she said with a smile.
“I was taken aback. I had a good round if you don’t count the first hole.
“I tried to forget the first hole happened,” Davis said. “All I can really do is have that give me motivation to do well tomorrow. I’m playing well. I have confidence I can do well tomorrow.”
- Scoring HERE
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