Jenny Bae, a day earlier, was asked about history. She had played Augusta National last year as part of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, and now that Bae was back for the latest edition, she was being quizzed on the perspective of it all.
There was one small problem, though.
“To be honest, I don’t really — I, too, don’t really know much about the actual history of it,” she said.
Understandable. Still, she had a thought.
“But I am excited,” Bae said, “especially for the upcoming generation of female amateurs that are really going to make an impact because this is only a few years that Augusta National Women’s Am has been hosted, and the Masters, the PGA have been going on here for years. I think for me, I’m just really excited to show the younger ones that they also have a chance to come up here and be one of the best amateurs in the world.”
There’s modesty there. But what if it were Bae herself who could do the impacting? She may have. It came quickly, though. These things sometimes do.
All of Saturday certainly did. Bae started the ANWA final round a whopping six back of amateur superstar Rose Zhang. And Bae birdied 2. Then doubled 3.
But then birdied 9.
And Zhang was struggling. She shot a 40 across her first nine holes. On 15, she dumped her second shot in the water ahead of the green and bogeyed.
And then Bae hit the shot. A dart to kick-in range on 17. Augusta came alive. She shook her head at her caddie, Josh Brewer — also her coach at the University of Georgia.
She was tied.
Bae and Zhang stayed knotted in regulation. They each parred their way home. Bae, it should be dutifully noted, was one of just three players to break par across Augusta on Saturday, with a two-under 70; Zhang shot a 76.
On the first playoff hole, back on 18, each player parred.
And the second playoff hole, on 10, was looking good. Bae bombed one. Zhang bombed one. Zhang hit to 30 feet. Bae went long. And left. And in a bush. Things started spiraling here. She hit her third shot into the right greenside bunker. Zhang watched. Bae hit her fourth shot on. Zhang won. Needing a two-putt for the win, she nearly did it one. Her ball came to rest about an inch or two away.
Let’s pause here. Our moment is about to come. But first some questions.
What would you have done, right here, right now, if you were Bae?
You had battled all day. And now it was done.
This was one of your final amateur events (she’s a fifth-year senior at Georgia). And now it was over.
You had been sitting in the fairway tied for the lead at the freaking Augusta National Women’s Amateur at Augusta freaking National. Then you were in a bush. And then a bunker.
Things were moving quickly here, remember, too.
Anyway, here’s what Bae did.
Bae walked to the hole.
Bae pulled the flagstick out for her competitor. You won. Don’t worry about this. I got it.
Bae then stepped aside.
And Zhang won.
Afterward, Bae answered questions from Golf Channel’s Cara Banks. She talked to other reporters. They asked about the rally. They asked about the stumble. They asked about what it all meant. And really it was this.
Bae made history.