Rose Zhang survived a final round wobble to win the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in a playoff with Jenny Bae.
Zhang teed off in the final round with a five-shot lead but quickly saw her lead whittled down to three when she double bogeyed the first hole. The world number one amateur was four-over through seven holes before play was suspended for three hours due to inclement weather.
The Stanford student settled herself in the interval and played steadily, parring her way to the turn before picking up a birdie on the par-5 13th to move two ahead once more.
However, disaster struck on the par-5 15th as her second shot into the green barely got off the ground and cannoned into the water short and the tournament was blown wide open.
To Zhang’s credit she held a clutch six-footer for a bogey and nailed her tee shot into the par-3 16th to regain her composure.
University of Georgia student Bae was roared on by a large local crowd and she applied the pressure going three-under for her last ten holes including a birdie on 17 to draw level with Zhang as she came from six shots back to force a playoff with a two-under 70, the low round of the day.
Zhang had a putt to win on the 54th hole but had to settle for a par. Both players carded pars on the first playoff hole (18) before they made their way to the par-4 10th.
Both players found the fairway and Zhang found the heart of the green before Bae tugged her shot left and ran into all sorts of trouble and was unable to save her par.
Sophomore student Zhang was able to two-putt at her ease to seal a thrilling victory and add the ANWA to her 2020 US Amateur title, she was also one of three players in the field to play in all four editions of the event and she was delighted to capture the title that had eluded her.
“When your swing’s uncomfortable, it’s always very hard to play on a very difficult golf course, and Augusta National is no exception,” Zhang said. “Especially with it being such a big stage, every mistake is sort of magnified. So, I think that just being able to kind of get back on track, that was my biggest feat today. I was able to have the outcome that I wanted while staying in the moment.
“I’m just really proud of myself in terms of how I was able to overcome so much media, so much expectation: going into the event everyone was talking about how I should win, how this will finalise the trio of amateur golf,” Zhang said, referring to her having won the 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior and the 2022 individual NCAA title as well as the team title as a freshman at Stanford.
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