Jenny Bae and Rose Zhang both finished on a three-round total of 207 after the final 18 holes at Augusta National to send the tournament to a sudden-death play-off; World No 1 amateur Zhang triumphed on the second hole of the play-off after two-putting for victory
Last Updated: 01/04/23 11:04pm
World No 1 amateur Rose Zhang claimed the Augusta National Women’s Amateur title after a dramatic playoff against Jenny Bae.
Zhang and Bae were both tied on nine under after the final round on Saturday, with a birdie on the 17th hole from the former drawing her level and ensuring a play-off to decide the title.
Georgia state native Bae shot two under in the final round at Augusta National to haul herself into contention, while 2020 US Women’s Amateur champion Zhang finished at four over to leave the pair tied on a three-round total of 207.
Nothing could separate the pair on the first hole of the play-off as they both parred the 18th, but Zhang two-putted on the 10th to add the ANWA championship to her burgeoning golfing CV after Bae found the trees and then a bunker behind the green.
Bae, who rallied from a six-shot deficit, had a 20-foot birdie on the 18th in the play-off for the win and left it short. From the 10th fairway on the second extra hole, she pulled her approach left of the green and under a bush.
Zhang was some 35 feet above the hole, long shadows across the line of her putt. It grazed the edge of the cup and settled inches away, which was all she needed.
The 19-year-old was mobbed by her Stanford college teammates, one of them giving her a red rose. It was the second play-off in the four-year history of the tournament.
Zhang has been regarded as the best amateur in women’s golf for the last three years, and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur was the biggest title she had not won.
She was flawless for two rounds at Champions Retreat, where she set tournament scoring records two days in a row with an opening 66 and then a 65 to lead by five.
Augusta National was a different story, with gusting wind as storms moved in, followed by a three-and-a-half-hour weather delay after she had played seven holes.
With a double bogey from the fairway bunker on the opening hole and three other bogeys, she already was four over for the round and her lead was down to three.
The break did not necessarily help. She steadied herself with pars, but Bae and Sweden’s Andrea Lignell were making enough birdies to close the gap.
Zhang was two shots ahead when she stood in the 15th fairway and watched Bae make par in the group in front. She still chose to hit fairway metal, and it never had a chance, landing in the pond in front of the green.
Bae was running out of holes, and Zhang gave her help with a bogey. Now only one back, Bae caught her with an approach to a foot on the 17th, and she made par on the 18th which ultimately forced a playoff.
Lignell birdied the opening two holes of Amen Corner, the 11th and 12th, and was within two shots of Zhang until she could no longer keep up. She closed with a 74 and tied for third.
Zhang now has won the US Women’s Amateur, the US Junior Girls and the NCAA title. In what likely will be her last year as an amateur, Augusta was the missing piece.
She got the trip to Butler Cabin, the trophy from Masters Chairman Fred Ridley. It just took more work and more nerves than she imagined.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
Source : Sky Sports