Rose Zhang and Stanford finished on top, and they aren’t finished yet.
Zhang, a sophomore from Irvine became the first player is history to capture the NCAA Women’s Individual Championship twice and led the Cardinal to a third straight victory in the stroke play portion of the tournament that leads to match play that will determine the national team champion at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Defending champion Stanford will play eighth-seeded Pepperdine in the first round of match play on Tuesday, while second-seeded Texas will take on seventh-seeded Texas A&M, third-seeded Wake Forest will meet sixth-seeded Florida State and fourth-seeded South Carolina will go against fifth-seeded USC.
“We’re wary of Pepperdine because they tied us in a tournament recently, so we know what can happen, and we’re not going to overlook them,” said Coach Anne Walker, who also led Stanford to the NCAA Championship in 2015. “We’re going to have to show up and play our best to beat them.
“It was so great to walk down No. 18 together with Rose and watch her win again. You saw what happened and I know that I’m very lucky to be coaching her because she’s such a great person and player.
“There are no words left to describe what Rose Zhang has accomplished in college golf and specifically here at Stanford,”
Zhang, the top-ranked women’s amateur golfer in the world, came from four strokes down in the final round and made the par she needed on the final hole to claim the title with a score of 72-67-71-68—278, 10-under-par, while Lucia-Lopez Ortega of San Jose State shot 68-69-71-71—279 to tie for second with Catherine Park of USC, who finished at 71-64-71-73—279.
It was the eighth college victory of the season for Zhang, tying the NCAA record set by Lorena Ochoa of Arizona in 2002, and her 12 victories at Stanford broke the school record of 11 she shared with Tiger Woods, Maverick McNealy and Patrick Rodgers.
“I didn’t know exactly where I stood coming down the (par-five) 18th hole and I was going to go for it, but Coach told me that I had a one-stroke lead and should lay up, so I did,” said Zhang, who also won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur recently. “It’s just incredible to win the national championship again.
“As a team, we are so strong and so close, and starting tomorrow it’s going to be all about going for the NCAA Championship together again. I couldn’t think of a better team for me to play on, and tomorrow we have to play a strong match to beat Pepperdine.”
Maddison Hinson-Tolchard of Oklahoma State was fourth at 66-70-74-70—280, while Michelle Zhang of LSU totaled 72-72-67-70—281 to tie for fifth with Ingrid Lindblad of LSU, who wound up at 70-72-68-71—281.
Lauren Walsh of Wake Forest posted a score of 67-67-79-69—282 to tie for seventh with Charlotte Heath of Florida State, who wound up at 71-71-69-71—282, and Pimmada Wongthanavimok of Arizona, who finished at 69-73-69-71—282.
Sadie Englemann of Stanford carded a score of 71-69-74-69—283 to tie for 10th with Chayse Gomez of Oregon State, who totaled 71-71-70-71—283, and Huai-Chien Hsu of Texas, who came in at 72-69-71-71—283.
Tiffany Le led UC Riverside in a tied for 14th at 75-68-71-71—285, and Lion Hugo of Pepperdine tied for 21st at 75-69-73-70—287.
Rounding out the scoring for team champion Stanford were Megha Ganne in a tie for 21st at 68-72-73-74—287, Kelly Xu in a tie for 28th at 77-68-72-71—288.
Rachel Heck of Stanford, the 2021 NCAA individual champion, was injured during a first-round 82 and replaced by Brooke Seay, who was coming back from an injury, and she finished things off by shooting 69-76-74—219.
South Carolina finished fourth at 286-276-302-289—1153, followed by USC at 296-276-290-292—1154, Florida State at 288-286-289-292—1155, Texas A&M at 287-284-298-287—1156, and Pepperdine at 295-279-296-290—1160.
New Mexico posted a score 287-288-301-287—1163 to tie for ninth with Arizona, which finished at 292-288-289-294—1163, while SMU wound up at 291-295-295-283—1164 to tie for 11th with Oklahoma State, which totaled 280-291-300-293—1164.
Mississippi was 13th at 301-288-291-285—1165, while Georgia shot 286-290-294-297—1167 to tie for 14th with LSU, which came in at 294-288-295-290—1167.
For complete results, visit https://results.golfstat.com//public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=participants&tid=26045