Rookie Rose Zhang Wins Back-to-Back NCAA Women’s Singles Titles for Stanford

A prominent Stanford freshman did it again.

Amateur world number 1 Rose Zhang won the NCAA women’s singles championship on Monday at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona – a year after teammate Rachel Heck won the title, also as a rookie.

“This means the world to me,” Zhang told the Golf Channel. “I feel like coming to college was the best decision of my life.”

Zhang becomes the 10th freshman to win the women’s singles title.

A day before her 19th birthday, Zhang entered the final round of the stroke play seven strokes ahead and nine short of the tournament — one of only four players in par or better arriving on Monday.

The final round did not prove to be any easier – for anyone – as Zhang described the course as a “brutal grind”.

Individual Scoring for the NCAA DI Women’s Golf Championship

A strong start, including a birdie on the second par-4, gave way to errors as the round progressed. First it was a double bogey on par-3 fifth, followed by bogeys on numbers 9, 10 and 15. His only other birdie of the round came on par-3 13th.

The young star’s lead was reduced from seven to three on the 10th hole, with Texas A&M’s Jenny Park gaining ground. Zhang’s score dropped from 9 under to 6 under her last bogey on the 15th, before she hit par on the final three holes to stop the bleeding, finally posting a 3-over 75 for the day.

Despite it being her only round of shots scoring above par – she had previously posted 68-70-69 – Zhang had the satisfaction of ending the day knowing she was the champion.

With a small nod to his teammates and a pause to savor a moment, Zhang hit the putt for the pair in the 18th and finally let out a smile after a day projecting nothing but stoic, focused demeanor.

“I saw every inch of that golf course that I didn’t see in the first three days,” Zhang said. “Knowing that I put in the effort with my C game, I am so grateful to be here.”

Winning is nothing new for the freshman, who was born in Arcadia, California. Zhang won his first three events as a Cardinal and did not finish below 10th all season, earning all the honors of the Pac-12 first team.

Despite the team’s bouncing lead, the individual title and an ace from Zhang Brooke Seay’s teammate on the par 3 16 were enough to make Stanford the seed of Tuesday’s game. Oregon, Texas A&M, UCLA, Auburn, Florida State, San Jose State and Georgia also qualified for match play.

There will be no birthday celebrations for Zhang just yet as he is back in business with Cardinal set to face the eighth seed Bulldogs. For now, she will have to recover from the water bottle spray bath she received from her teammates on the 18th green.

“I have bigger ambitions than just being an individual national champion,” Zhang said. “I want to hold this trophy with my teammates, and we have a long way to go.”

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