Rose Zhang Wins Augusta National Women's Amateur, Completes Amateur Golf Grand Slam

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In women's amateur golf, it's Rose Zhang, and then it's everyone else. It's been that way for a while now. A sophomore at Stanford, she's the reigning NCAA individual champion and became the first player to win the U.S. Women's Amateur and U.S. Girls Junior in reverse order—the Amateur as a 17 year old and the junior event the following year. 

There was, however, one glaring absence on her amateur-golf resume: the Augusta National Women's Amateur. She looked poised to run and hide after shooting 66-65 in the two rounds at Champions Retreat to build a five-shot lead. The downside of building such a big lead in this tournament is that you have to think about it for an extra day—Augusta lets every competitor play a practice round on Saturday, before only those who made the 36-hole cut tee it up in competition on Sunday. 

Zhang said she had "a case of the jitters" during the always-brutal wait for the final tee time, and a double bogey at 1 brought a host of chasers into the mix. She pushed her opening tee shot into the bunker, made a mess from there and never quite righted the ship, shooting a four-over 76 that was the worst score by two of any player in the top eight. 

But that's why golf tournaments are multiple rounds—it gives the best player some leeway to have a shaky stretch. Zhang played the back nine in even par but was eventually caught by local favorite Jenny Bae, a senior at Georgia who shot 70 to come back from six behind. Zhang missed a 20 footer to win it in regulation, and the two traded pars on the first playoff hole, the 18th, before Bae blinked first. And hard. She sent her approach well left into the pinestraw on 10, and her third raced through the green into the bunker right of the surface. That opened the door for Zhang to win with a two-putt from the back edge of the green. She cozied it up to tap-in range to complete what's been dubbed the Women's Amateur Golf Grand Slam. 

The question now is when this superstar will turn professional, for she has nothing left to accomplish in the amateur game. It's time for her to start cashing the big-money checks she deserves.