In match play, nothing is over until it’s over. Or something like that.
And that was proved again today in the Round of 32 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, being held this week at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.
On the 18th hole of the match between Angela Zhang of Bellevue, Wash. and her partner Alice Zhao of Irvine, Calif., playing against Malak Bouraeda and Morgan Miller, with Zhang and Zhao needing to win the hole to extend the match and Bouraeda and Miller already in with a par, Zhao putted her downhill, sidehill, 65-foot birdie attempt toward the hole, in a last-gasp effort to keep the match going.
The ball slowly rolled, and rolled, and rolled into the cup.
The improbable birdie ignited the gallery around the green, and the match continued. The two sides matched birdies on the 19th hole (with Zhang rolling in a six-footer, knowing that Miller had a sure-fire birdie from two feet) and pars on the 20th hole.
On the 21st hole, it was Zhao again who stepped up. From 108 yards, she hit her A-wedge, with the ball stopping 10 inches from the hole. A tap-in birdie. The match was over.
Of Zhao’s 65-foot birdie bomb on 18, Zhang said, “It was the highlight of my golf career, and I wasn’t even the one to putt! It’s a good reminder you are never out of it.”
They will face Anna Kate Nichols and Avery Weed in the Round of 16.
The magic at The Home Course continues for Zhang and Zhao. They were one of seven co-medalists heading into the championship’s match-play bracket. Back on Sept 28, 2022, the duo combined for a 7-under 65 to earn medalist honors at a qualifier for this championship that was held on the course. Then last month, Zhang set the women’s course record at The Home Course, firing a 7-under 65 in the first round of the Washington Women’s Champion of Champions, on her way to winning that championship by 11 strokes.
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Eight sides (or teams) from the Pacific Northwest started in the field, and four advanced into match play.
The Round of 16 will be held on Tuesday morning, with the quarterfinal matches being held Tuesday afternoon. The semifinal and final matches will be held on Wednesday.
Who else from the Northwest is moving on to the Round of 16:
Anna Davis of Spring Valley, Calif., & Kiara Romero of San Jose, Calif. defeated Hadley Ashton and Brynn Kort, 4 and 3. Davis, a left-hander, came out of nowhere to win the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which granted her invitations to play in three women’s professional majors, including the U.S. Women’s Open, and four other LPGA Tour events. Davis spends her summers in Chewelah, Wash. and has won several Washington Junior Golf Association titles, including the state championship in 2020. In 2021, she captured the Girls Junior PGA Championship. Romero, who is headed to the University of Oregon this fall, defeated medalist Saki Baba in the Round of 32 of the 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior. Baba would win the U.S. Women’s Amateur a few weeks later at Chambers Bay.
They will face Vanessa Borovilos and Cara Heisterkamp in the Round of 16.
Anna Huang of Vancouver, B.C. & Leigh Chien of Irvine, Calif. defeated Frances Kim and Nikki Oh, 4 and 3. At age 14, Huang is one of the youngest competitors in this year’s field. Her notable results include a T4 finish at the Canadian Junior, a T22 finish at the Canadian Women’s Amateur, a victory at the Toyota Tour Cup and a T3 finish a the NextGen Selection Camp. She was selected to play on Team Canada in the 2022 World Junior Girls’ Championship.
They will face Emerson Blair and Sophie Linder in the Round of 16.
Kyra Ly of Portland, Ore. & Emily Song of Portland, Ore. lost their Round of 32 match, 7 and 6, to Lindsay McGrath and Alissa Xu.
This is the fourth USGA national championship conducted at The Home Course, which is cooperatively owned and operated by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association and Washington Golf. Set up at 6,487 yards, The Home Course will be played as the longest course in the history of this national championship.
Admission to the championship is free and spectators are encouraged. Come on out and watch some great golf.