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Rick Nixon, | May 26, 2023

Stanford's Rose Zhang clinches 2nd straight DI women's golf individual title

Stanford's Rose Zhang wins second-straight NCAA women's golf individual title
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Rose Zhang may have started the 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship slow by her standards, but by the end of the final round of stroke play, she was once again alone at the top of the individual leaderboard.
The Stanford sophomore made history at Grayhawk Golf Club (6,386 yards/par 72), becoming the first Division I women’s golfer to win multiple individual national championships following a final round 4-under par 68. Zhang entered the day in a three-way tie for third, four strokes behind USC’s Catherine Park, but quickly began her ascent up the leaderboard with three birdies in a four-hole stretch on holes 4, 6 and 7.
Zhang, who concluded the first round tied for 36th at even-par 72, played the front nine to 3-under and wrapped up her afternoon with seven consecutive pars to successfully defend her national championship at Grayhawk last spring as a freshman. Overall, Zhang played a bogey-free round with four birdies and 14 pars.
“I feel like the gameplan today was to be in position,” Zhang said. “Especially at Grayhawk, the greens are very difficult. They’ve been placing the pins in very difficult positions, so really understanding where you need to be was critical. For me and my teammates, we’ve been on a gameplan the whole week, and we will continue to do that going into Match Play, so without that gameplan I wouldn’t be here.”
Closing at 10-under par (278), Zhang tied the NCAA single-season record with her eighth win in 10 events this season. Her second national championship is also her 12th tournament win in her Stanford career, breaking a school record held by three Stanford men’s golfers including Tiger Woods.
Zhang is also the third consecutive Stanford golfer to win the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship individual medalist title. Teammate Rachel Heck began the current streak with her victory in 2021.
“The national championships are a time where there’s so many Division I teams that are coming into this week with a mindset of winning,” Zhang said. “There are so many elite athletes out here, so the competition is super strong. To be able to come out on top shows I’ve been dedicated and driven and I’m super proud of where I stand now. I couldn’t have done it without all the prep work and all the mental game that my family, friends and coaches have taught me.”
Zhang finished one stroke ahead of Park and San Jose State’s Lucia Lopez-Ortega, who both concluded the tournament at 9-under par 279. Lopez-Ortega found herself tied with Zhang with three holes remaining, but bogeys on two of her final three holes proved to be a setback. A birdie on her last hole still propelled her to a final round 1-under par 71, as she was one of three golfers to shoot under-par in each of the four rounds.
Meanwhile, Park played her last six holes to +2 as she finished the day with a 1-over par 73.
Oklahoma State’s Maddison Hinson-Tolchard placed fourth at 8-under par 280 after firing a fourth round -2 (70).
With Zhang pacing Stanford, the defending team national champions secured the No. 1 seed in the Match Play Championship and will face off against No. 8 seed Pepperdine. The Cardinal behind under-par rounds from Zhang, Sadie Englemann (-3) and Kelly Xu (-1) shot 6-under par (282). At 19-under par (1,133), Stanford finished five strokes better than Texas, who earned the No. 2 seed at 14-under par (1,138).
“We got to play with Pepperdine recently at Green Hills and they tied us for a win there a few weeks ago,” Stanford Head Coach Anne Walker said. “They’re a great team with a very experienced coach. The thing I’ve learned in Match Play and the team has learned is nothing is guaranteed ever, so we will be showing up and giving our very best and see which way we shake out at the end of the day.”
Texas edged Wake Forest for the No. 2 seed in Match Play with the low team round of the day. The Longhorns started the day tied with the Demon Deacons for second behind the Cardinal, but Texas’ 8-under par 280 was one lower than Wake Forest’s 7-under par 281.
Texas will take on No. 7 seed Texas A&M, while Wake Forest will meet No. 6 seed Florida State. In the final quarterfinal match, No. 4 seed South Carolina and No. 5 seed USC will square off.
Just three of the eight remaining teams (Stanford, Florida State, Texas A&M) also advanced to match play in 2022. After a one-year hiatus, Texas returns to match play, while Wake Forest and USC are back for the first time since 2019. South Carolina will be competing in match play for the first time since 2016.
Pepperdine, the two-time defending West Coast Conference champions and winner of the San Antonio Regional, will be making its first match play appearance after the Waves snapped a six-year NCAA Championship drought this season.
Tuesday will consist of both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of match play. The Texas-Texas A&M and Wake Forest-Florida State matches will start at 6:20 a.m. MST with the two other quarterfinals teeing off at 7:10 a.m. MST.

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