Record round gives Rose Zhang first round lead at Augusta National Women’s Amateur
There isn't much Rose Zhang hasn't accomplished in her amateur golf career except win the only title that so far has eluded her - the Augusta National Women's Amateur.

With her father Haibin on her bag, the world's top-ranked female amateur planted a stake in the ground Wednesday at Champions Retreat by opening with a bogey-free 6-under 66 -- the lowest round since the tournament began in 2019 -- to take the first-round lead of the fourth edition of the Augusta National Women's Amateur.

The Stanford sophomore, who has appeared in all three previous ANWAs with her best finish being a tie for third in 2021, birdied all four par-5s and added two more on the par-3s en route to her 66. At 6-under, she has a one-stroke lead over Sweden’s Andrea Lignell, who is a senior at Ole Miss.

“I feel like everything just went well. I placed the ball where I should and I was able to convert some long putts. That’s pretty essential for this kind of golf course. The short game and the putting all worked out, and that’s how I shot it,” Zhang told Golf Channel following her round.

Related: Champions Retreat Steps Out From the Shadows to Test the Best

Andrea Lignell
Zhang is breathing much easier than she was a year ago when she opened with a 76 and rallied to birdie her final three holes of her second round to advance to Augusta National. She took a huge first step on Wednesday at Champions Retreat to add the elusive ANWA trophy to her trophy case alongside hardware from the U.S. Women's Amateur, U.S. Girls' Junior and the NCAA Championship.

“It would mean the world,” Zhang said. “This is a championship that no one can really top in terms of the prestige, the venue, and everyone treats us so well. I think that this will hold a special place in my heart. Overall, I’m not really thinking about [winning] so far, I have a couple more days to go and I have a cut to make first.”

Making her ANWA debut, Lingnell rode a hot putter to a 5-under 67 while Jenny Bae, a senior at Georgia, is alone in third place after carding a 3-under 69. Jensen Castle, the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, is one of three players tied for fourth at 2-under.

While it's no surprise Zhang sits atop the leaderboard, there are some other notable players who have a lot of work to do on Thursday if they are to advance to Augusta National.

Ingrid Lindblad, ranked second in the world behind Zhang who has finished no lower than third in her previous two ANWA starts, struggled mightily on Tuesday at Champions Retreat, carding a 6-over 78. Wake Forest's Rachel Kuehn, ranked fourth in the world, opened with a 76 while USC sophomore Amari Avery, ranked ninth, shot 75.

Defending champion Anna Davis signed for a 76 after incurring four penalty strokes on the opening hole for playing her ball from incorrect spots under the Model Local Rule E-3, which allows players to lift, clean and replace the ball in “areas cut to fairway height or less." Davis mistakenly thought the rule applied to the entire course, and she twice lifted her ball in the rough. With two 2-shot penalties, her score on the first hole went from a 5 to a 9.

“So preferred lies were only in the fairway today, and I learned that after the first hole,” said Davis, who recently won the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, 20 minutes away from the gates of Augusta National. “On my first drive, I was in the rough, did my little thing. There’s mud on it. My second shot in the rough, same thing. So that was a four-shot penalty right there. Little rough start to the day, but that’s all right, it happens. It’s a learning experience.”

The top 30 players and ties after two rounds at Champions Retreat will advance to a final round at Augusta National on Saturday. The cut line right now falls at 2-over.

Results: Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA)
1CARose ZhangIrvine, CA150066-65-76=207
2GAJenny BaeSuwanee, GA100069-68-70=207
3SwedenAndrea LignellSweden70067-69-74=210
4SpainCayetana FernandezSpain70073-69-71=213
T5JapanSaki BabaJapan70074-70-70=214

View full results for Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA)

ABOUT THE Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA)

54-hole stroke-play tournament that will include a 72 player international field. The field will include winners of other recognized tournaments while also utilizing the Women's World Amateur Golf Rankings.

The first two rounds will be played at Champions Retreat Golf Club before the field is cut to the low 30 and ties for the final round at Augusta National.

The tournament will be played the week before the Masters, concluding on Saturday.

View Complete Tournament Information

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