The first to swarm Rose Zhang after her ANWA win? Her Stanford teammates
After nearly draining a 25-footer for birdie, she was calm after tapping in for the win. She hugged her playoff opponent, Jenny Bae and her caddie before turning and embracing her father, Haibin.
Then she tossed her winning ball into the crowd as three of her Stanford teammates, Rachel Heck, Megha Ganne and Brooke Seay, ran to her to begin the celebration. Ganne and Seay competed in the tournament this week, with Seay missing the 36-hole cut while Ganne shot 74 earlier Sunday to finish T9.
Heck, the 2021 NCAA Champion, meanwhile was only in Augusta this week to watch as she recovers from rib surgery last month. She was shown a few times during the broadcast looking on during the final round.
Several others joined in the celebration and eventually, the champion was handed a fitting symbol for her win: a rose.
Zhang was taken aback by the gesture from her teammates and shared an embrace again with Heck.
“It’s over. You did it,” Heck told Zhang as someone else ran to spray her with a water bottle.
Then, like an Oscars acceptance speech gone too long, the music came in the form of an Augusta National member chiming in with: “Alright we’re going to Butler Cabin.”
If you haven’t followed the Stanford women’s team before, this is no ordinary college golf team. Last year, the team set numerous NCAA records on their way to the national team title, while Zhang collected the individual title as a freshman. She was the second-straight Cardinal freshman to accomplish the feat after Heck.
This year, Zhang hasn’t been beaten in stroke play and the team has won four events.
A snippet of their season was documented by No Laying Up and you should take a look when you get a spare 80 minutes.
But back to Sunday, as there was still one more person to congratulate Zhang.
Cardinal coach Anne Walker was coming up from behind the group on the 10th green. She tapped Zhang on the shoulder and the pair collapsed into another embrace.
“You did it,” Walker said. “We’ll talk more. Enjoy the day.”
They still have another NCAA title to win after all.