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Rose Zhang wins second LPGA title

Rose Zhang wins second LPGA title

Down by three with five holes to play at the Cognizant Founders Cup, Rose Zhang didn’t panic. The sage Stanford student dug deep and tried to enjoy herself.

When she poured in her fourth birdie in five holes on the 18th – dead center in the cup – Zhang bent over in a state of shock and relief. In the post-round interview, the LPGA sophomore told Golf Channel’s Karen Stupples that she was still shaking.

“It’s honestly very cliche, but I have to give it back to my faith,” said Zhang of how she’s able to rise to the occasion time and again. “I think I had so much strength in me to really go out there and try my best, and without any other consequences or no matter what I shoot I’m going out there and I’m glorifying God.

“I mean, this is for Him for sure.”

Zhang, who turns 21 later this month, closed with a 66 at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, New Jersey, winning her second career title by two over Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom.

Sunday at the Founders Cup felt more like a Solheim Cup as Sagstrom and Zhang had separated themselves from the field by 10 strokes. Sagstrom began to pull away midway through the round, carding five birdies in an 11-hole span.

But down the stretch, the show belonged to Zhang, who this time last year was putting the finishing touches on her second NCAA title at Stanford. Zhang finished the Founders Cup at 24 under while Sagstrom, who played the last five holes 1 over, came up short at 22 under.

Rookie Gabriela Ruffels, who finished solo third, was miles back at 9 under.

Sagstrom, a big hitter with an even bigger heart, shed some tears in her post-round TV interview but held her head high, calling this week the best golf she’s played in years.

“Just being in this position, this is what we all trying to do,” she said. “We’re trying to feel these nerves. I was nervous today. I chunked a chip on 1. Just pure nerves.

“I think you’re not going to learn by not being here.”

The week began with all eyes on Nelly Korda, who looked to become the first player in LPGA history to win six consecutive starts. Korda’s rounds of 73-73 over the weekend put her in a share of seventh for the tournament.

Nancy Lopz (1978) and Annika Sorenstam (2004-05) are the only other players to win five consecutive starts on the LPGA. Neither finished in the top 10 in their quest to win six in a row.

Zhang next heads next to Liberty National for the Mizuho Americas Open, site of her maiden victory last spring when…


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