On Tuesday, No. 1 Stanford ladies’s golf misplaced to No. 5 USC within the NCAA semifinals, bringing the workforce’s quest for a second consecutive championship to an finish.
The Cardinal displayed historic dominance all through the season, led by sophomore Rose Zhang and her second consecutive particular person NCAA title this week. However the workforce didn’t play its finest golf in opposition to USC, and the Trojans seized the chance, profitable 3-1 on the Grayhawk Golf Membership in Scottsdale, Ariz. Regardless of shut matches, Stanford by no means constructed momentum and failed to guide because the opponents performed the again 9.
Within the opening match, freshman Kelly Xu took on USC’s Catherine Park, who completed runner-up to Zhang within the particular person Championship the day gone by. Xu took an early lead, taking pictures 1-under par by means of 8 holes and going 3-up. However Xu’s double bogey on the par-4 ninth, adopted by bogeys on three of the subsequent 4 holes, evened the match. Xu then steadied herself, matching Park’s birdie on the par-4 14th gap and parring the subsequent three to win the match 2 & 1, placing a Cardinal level on the board.
The following match pitted freshman Megha Ganne in opposition to Cindy Kou. The latter got here out firing, with 4 birdies on the entrance 9, constructing a 3-up lead. Nevertheless, Ganne chipped away on the lead, with birdies on the par-4 tenth and and par-5 eleventh holes. When Kou bogeyed the par-4 twelfth, the match was tied. In the end, Ganne couldn’t get better from bogeys on par-4 No.15 and par-3 No.16, and when Kou birdied the par-4 seventeenth gap she got here away with a 2 & 1 victory, tying the general rating at 1-apiece.
Within the third match, senior Brooke Seay performed the Trojans’ Christine Wang. Seay, whose clutch 205-yard second shot to the par-5 18th inexperienced helped seal final yr’s semifinal win, was undefeated in NCAA match play. Going into this yr’s event, nevertheless, she was coming off an damage. Seay battled Wang all through, and the pair was tied after 12 holes. However Wang’s birdie on the par-3 thirteenth adopted by Seay’s bogey on No.14 gave Wang a two-hole lead. Seay tried mightily to battle again, however her birdie putts on Nos. 15 and 17 fell simply brief. When each gamers parred the seventeenth gap, the match was over, once more by a 2 & 1 rating.
The Trojans have been now one level from victory, however sophomore Sadie Englemann had been main all through her match with USC’s Amari Avery. Englemann was 3-under par after 9 holes, taking a 4-up lead. She was three forward after 15, earlier than Avery received the subsequent two holes to slender Englemann’s result in one as they approached the 18th tee.
Within the anchor match, Zhang, at some point faraway from her particular person championship, had a uncommon off-afternoon after profitable her morning quarterfinal match comfortably. Towards the Trojans’ Brianna Navarrosa, Zhang opened with a double bogey to fall behind instantly. After bogeying 4 of the ultimate holes on the primary 9, she was down by three.
Zhang confirmed her resilience by elevating her recreation late within the match. Her birdie on the 14th gap narrowed Navarrosa’s result in two holes. However Navarrosa, who performed a gradual again 9, matched Zhang’s birdie on No. 16. And when each gamers parred No. 17, Navarrosa received the match 2&1, securing the Trojans’ victory. Englemann nonetheless held a 1-up lead on the 18th gap when the match, and the Cardinal season, concluded.
To cap off the season, Zhang acquired first-team All-American honors. Englemann was named to the All-American second workforce and Ganne was awarded an All-American honorable point out.
Zhang turns professional
On Friday, Zhang introduced that she is beginning her skilled profession and might be taking part in in her first LPGA event subsequent week. Stanford Athletics said in a press launch that Zhang plans to stay enrolled and proceed pursuing her communication diploma whereas coaching at Stanford’s varsity golf facility.
Zhang joins the skilled ranks as probably the most embellished participant in beginner ladies’s golf historical past and the one a number of, and consecutive, winner of the NCAA Division I particular person Nationwide Championship. She held the No. 1 Girls’s World Beginner Golf rating for a file 141 consecutive weeks, courting again to September 2020.
“The infinite love, assist and inspiration from so many individuals introduced me so far of my golf profession,” Zhang wrote in a submit on Instagram. “From my teammates to my coaches and trainers, to my family and friends — you may have all been integral in my journey, shaping me as an individual and participant whereas making sacrifices for my success. You may have made it attainable for me to pursue my desires.”
Director of Girls’s Golf Anne Walker expressed excessive reward for Zhang. “It’s cliche to say, however I by no means dreamed of getting the chance to teach the best feminine beginner of all-time,” Walker mentioned in Friday’s press launch. “Rose Zhang has led our workforce with class each on and off the golf course on daily basis for 2 years. She’s damaged each file, received each championship and brought our workforce to the highest of faculty golf. I’m fairly sure I’ll by no means coach anybody fairly like Rose once more – she’s a generational participant. Everybody at Stanford is healthier for having been round Rose and we’re so glad she might be a Cardinal for Life.”