Pre-tournament favourite Rose Zhang’s U.S. Women’s Open may not have gotten off to an ideal start as shed open with a two-over 74, with a double bogey-six at the eighth the hole the main culprit, but after going viral earlier in the week when her practice-round tee-shot at the iconic seventh hole saw her tee flip up and return to her pocket, she’s set to go viral again after a delicious chip from the green on 17 almost produced one of the greatest birdies you’ll ever see.
On the same hole that Gary Woodland pitched from the putting surface to save par enroute to a narrow victory over Brooks Koepka in the 2019 U.S. Open, Zhang found herself in a similar predicament, stymied by the encroaching bank of the hourglass-shaped green.
Opening up the face of her lob-wedge, she nipped the chip perfectly, clearing the bank and ridge, with the ball checking and turning towards the hole before agonisingly turning left inches out.
— U.S. Women’s Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) July 7, 2023
Speaking to the press afterwards, Zhang admitted that she, like the rest of the television viewers, had thought the chip was going in. “It looked really, really good,” she said. “I definitely knew right was not a place to miss. Once I saw where my ball was, I couldn’t even think about even putting it. So it was a really good shot. It was a bit risky but I felt like that was the shot of the day.”
She’d go on to inform us that it was the first time she’d ever chipped from a putting surface in competition, though it was something that she’d practiced for fun along with her college teammates.
Asked if she was aware of Gary Woodland’s shot on the same hole back in 2019, her memory drew a blank, but after having the shot described to her, she responded with “Dude, that’s crazy. Wait,” before taking her phone and pulling up the clip of Woodland which she’d unwittingly channeled.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 17, 2019
“Yeah. Oh. Wait, wait, wait. I did see this shot. Hold on. Hold on. Okay, okay. I did see this shot,” she exclaimed to laughter from the press gallery. “It’s all coming back. Yeah, I don’t know where I was, but it was definitely on TV,” before going on to add that her unlikely tee flip into the pocket in the practice round was “unintentional sorcery.”