AUGUSTA, Ga. — After falling 1 shot below the cut line, Rose Zhang, the No. 1 amateur in women’s golf, made birdies on her final three holes at Champions Retreat to qualify for the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Zhang, the former U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, was among the golfers who finished their second round after play was delayed 7½ hours Thursday because of heavy rain.
The final round will be held Saturday at August National, with Zhang 3 strokes off the lead.
“I needed to stay composed out here,” Zhang said. “The atmosphere when you’re on the cut line is very thick. I really had to stay in the moment and really just try to execute.”
Beatrice Wallin (71) and Latanna Stone (72) were tied for the 36-hole lead at even-par 144, one shot ahead of Avery Amari, the star-in-waiting at USC, UCLA’s Emma Spitz and Amalie Leth-Nissen of Denmark.
After second-round play at Champions Retreat was complete, all 60 players in the field got to play a practice round at Augusta National — home of the Masters — on Friday afternoon.
Only the top 30 advanced to the Saturday final round. That group includes Germany’s Paula Schulz-Hanssen, who was among four players who had to go extra holes for the final spot in the final round, advancing with a par on the fourth playoff hole — on her 19th birthday, no less.
“That’s a great present for myself,” she said.
Two tough rounds in three days at Champions Retreat left a leaderboard so bunched that everyone with a tee time at Augusta National on Saturday is still in the mix. Only 6 shots separated the top from the bottom.
“To think that there’s 30 people, 30 of the best players in the world, and 5 off the lead, I think anybody’s in this tournament,” Rachel Heck said.
Heck, a sophomore at Stanford, is the No. 3 amateur among women. She had a pair of double bogeys and was 5 over for her round — 6 over for the tournament — when play was halted Thursday by darkness.
She birdied two of her last three holes Friday to avoid the 4-for-1 playoff.
“There was a lot of emotions out there,” Heck said. “My heart is still beating really fast.”