Zhang, Lindblad Lead ANWA; Smith Misses Cut in Playoff
April 2, 2021
EVANS, Ga. -- Rose Zhang, the 17-year-old prodigy who is No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, has looked the part so far through the first two rounds of the Augusta National Women's Amateur. The 2020 U.S. Women's Amateur champion -- who will begin her freshman year at Stanford in the fall -- managed to shoot an even-par 72 Thursday on a cold, windy day at Champions Retreat. As a result, she is tied for the lead.
Ingrid Lindblad is also at 143. The long-hitting LSU sophomore from Sweden had to rally to get there, however. She shot 73 on Wednesday, and on Thursday she made a double bogey at the ninth hole, which put her at 3 over for the round and 4 over for the tournament. But she scorched the back nine with a 5-under 31 on the way to a 70.
The low round of the tournament so far was a 69 by Olivia Mehaffey, who plays for Arizona State. The fifth-year senior from Northern Ireland didn't make a single par in the first eight holes Thursday -- five birdies, three bogeys. She made one more birdie at the par-3 11th, and parred in from there for the 69, which lifted her into a third-place tie at 144, along with Vanderbilt junior Auston Kim, who shot 72 for the second day in a row.
When the day began, Kate Smith, the 2020 Minnesota Women's State Open champ -- and MGA Co-Women's Player of the Year -- was the tournament leader. But she wasn't done with her first round. On Wednesday, she had completed 11 holes before play had to be stopped because of inclement weather, and the former five-time Minnesota state high school champ from Detroit Lakes was 4 under, three shots ahead of the field.
Smith resumed her first round at 7:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday. Conditions weren't exactly optimal. It was windy, and the temperature was in the 40's. (It never did did get much above that.) The last shot she hit on Wednesday was a 25-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole that ended up 5 feet past the cup. She made the 5-footer for par to start things off on Thursday. But she bogeyed the 425-yard, par-4 13th and the 510-yard, par-5 14th, and she doubled the 16th (390 yards, par 4). Pars at the 17th and 18th put her in a tie for fourth at 72.
The fifth-year senior at Nebraska started her second round at 12:50 p.m., and her struggles continued. She bogeyed the second hole, and the fourth, and made consecutive bogeys at the sixth and seventh holes. A double at the 10th bumped her to 6 over for the round (and tournament), and put her in danger of missing the cut. The middle of the back nine was where her first-round had gone into retreat Thursday morning, but she managed to make six pars in a row, from the 11th to the 16th in the afternoon.
Playing in the final group of the day, Smith was on the cut number at 6 over as she came to the last two holes. But she bogeyed the 175-yard, par-3 17th. At the 470-yard, par-5 18th, she was just off the green in two, but she couldn't get her ball up and down and had to settle for a par, which gave her a 79 and put her into a five-way tie for 30th at 151 (7 over).
At this tournament, the top 30 players make the cut -- but not ties. Only 30. So there was a playoff for the last spot available in Saturday's final round, which will be played at Augusta National.
The sudden-death playoff started at the 385-yard, par-4 10th, the same hole that Smith had doubled during her second round. In the playoff, however, she hit the green in two and had the shortest birdie putt, from about 12 feet. Unfortunately for her, Maja Stark, an Oklahoma State sophomore from Sweden, made her birdie putt from 18 feet. Smith then missed.
Everyone who was in the tournament (there were 82 players in all) can play a practice round at Augusta on Friday. But the only one of the five participants from Thursday"s playoff who will get to tee it up on Saturday morning will be Stark.
WOMEN'S AMATEUR GOLF
Augusta National Women's Amateur
At Champions Retreat
Par 72, 6,245 yards
The first two rounds were played at Champions Retreat; Saturday's final round will be played at Augusta National.
T1. Rose Zhang, USA 71-72--143
T1. Ingrid Lindblad, Sweden 73-70--143
T3. Auston Kim, USA 72-72--144
T3. Olivia Mehaffey, No. Ireland 75-69--144
T5. Karen Fredgaard, Denmak 70-75--145
T5. Gina Kim, USA 74-71--145
T5. Tsubasa Kajitani, Japan 73-72--145
T30. Maja Stark, Sweden 78-73--151*
* -- Stark won a 5-woman playoff for the last spot in Saturday's final round with a birdie on the first extra hole -- No. 10
T30. Kate Smith, USA, 72-79--151