EVANS, Georgia — Superheroes, too, have bad days.
Rose Zhang, the world No. 1 and two-time USGA champion, came into this week’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur with out-of-this-world expectations, as she has won three times and hasn’t finished lower than T-10 in seven collegiate outings as a freshman at Stanford. Zhang, on the other hand, dug herself a hole early at Champions Retreat, shooting a 4-over 76 in the first round.
Zhang, who carded six bogeys in an uncharacteristically sloppy – relative, of course – performance, commented, “Today was a little bit difficult.” “It seemed like getting my numbers correct was proving to be quite difficult.” It was always a pretty unlucky bounce if I hit a really excellent shot. For me, today’s greens were quite difficult to read. Overall, it was a tough slog out there.”
Zhang stated that she hasn’t been playing her “best game” lately. On Sunday, she shot a 2-over 74 at Arizona State’s event, her lowest college performance to date.
She had a habit of hitting her ball into the incorrect locations on Wednesday.
“On this course, you really have to lay your ball perfectly,” Zhang explained, “and if you can’t do that, you’re going to shoot high numbers very easy.” … It’s a little bit of everything, especially the putting a little bit, and simply being on this golf course requires proper course management, which I didn’t have today. So there will be plenty to speak about and debate with my crew later.”
Zhang is set to face a tough battle in making her third straight cut at the ANWA, with bad weather expected on Thursday, including heavy rain. Last year, she tied for third after finishing 17th as a 15-year-old in 2019. Zhang hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 in a non-professional stroke-play competition since that performance. She has won 12 times in that time.
On Wednesday, she tied for 39th place at 4 over after a closing birdie from 35 feet. The top 30 players after the second round on Thursday progress to the final round on Saturday at Augusta National.
Zhang is used to going low when she has no other option. She shot a course-record 64 at the Meadow Club in Fairfax, California, earlier this spring to secure runner-up honors for herself and the Cardinal.
Zhang shouldn’t need a superhuman round to make the cut on a challenging course in difficult circumstances. This time, something from the 1960s should suffice.
“It’s obviously difficult,” Zhang remarked, “but all you have to do is stay in the correct mindset.” “I knew going into this tournament that it was going to be a grind, and I’m still thinking that way. Tomorrow isn’t going to be easy, especially given the conditions, so I’ll just have to go out there and give it my all.”