EVANS, Ga. – Rose Zhang was requested her expectations heading into the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. After all, she’s the top-ranked newbie on this planet. She’s the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion. She wins virtually every little thing on the junior stage – and simply two weeks in the past, in her first-ever Symetra Tour occasion (and simply her second event in seven months), she misplaced in a playoff.
But the 17-year-old doesn’t speak just like the world-beater she most definitely is. “I usually come into any event with no expectations,” she stated, “and as long as I play my own game and satisfy my own criteria, I think that I would feel accomplished.”
That runs counter, in fact, to what most celebrity athletes verbalize in an interview setting. They’ll say they’re there to win, nothing else. That second place sucks. But Zhang doesn’t go there, at the very least not in public. She stated she didn’t even view herself because the prohibitive favourite this week – that she doesn’t even suppose like that – although most everybody would agree that she was.
“It’s a mentality,” stated her caddie/coach Josh Loyo. “She always plays with no expectations. I really like that, actually, because it’s really different than any player I’ve seen. I work with a lot of LPGA players, and her mental game is beyond her age – far beyond her age. She doesn’t really think about too much out there, stays in the moment really easily, and forgives quickly, too, if she does make a mistake and moves on.
“It’s hard to believe, but she really doesn’t.”
With solely spherical left within the ANWA, it’s onerous to disregard the top objective now. Despite some uncharacteristic bogeys coming dwelling, Zhang posted 1-under 143 and is tied for the lead with Ingrid Lindblad. Seven different gamers are inside two pictures as the highest 30 head now to Augusta National – first for a follow spherical on Friday, then the nationally televised third and last spherical.
Three pictures clear at one level Thursday, Zhang needed to accept only a share of the lead after making bogey on three of the 4 par 5s. She closed out her spherical with a miss inside 5 toes on 18.
“Overall, I think it’s a pretty solid day,” Zhang stated. “Just a lot of small mistakes out there.”
Those errors have been magnified on a day when the temperatures plunged greater than 20 levels (Thursday’s excessive: 59) and the wind gusted as much as 25 mph. That made what was already a tough setup at Champions Retreat much more difficult.
Zhang and Lindblad have been the one gamers to complete two rounds beneath par; the final time this occasion was performed, in 2019, there have been seven.
The lower line fell at 7 over – 4 pictures larger than in 2019.
“I think we played the best we could have played out there,” Loyo stated. “Her ball-striking is the best I’ve seen it.”
Loyo was on the bag when Zhang made her first look at Augusta National in 2019. Then simply 15, she tied for 17th regardless of being unable to achieve the par 5s in two pictures and taking part in extra conservatively into the par 4s as a result of she couldn’t hit her strategy pictures with the mandatory peak. As she’s matured – and, because of Loyo, developed a exercise routine that has packed on muscle – Zhang has gained 20 yards off the tee and now hits her iron pictures a few membership and a half longer.
“The 2019 experience, getting to Augusta was the big goal,” Loyo stated. “This year, I think our goals are a little different.”
It’s to win. Even if she doesn’t say it.