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Odyssey at the eighth sends Rose Zhang to 74 at the US Women’s Open


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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Rose Zhang was at 2 under par and two off the lead when she approached the par-4 eighth. That’s when her round went in reverse.

Zhang had just birdied the par-3 seventh, hitting her tee shot inside 4 feet. Her strategic drive at the next hit the center of the fairway but left her 202 yards to the hole.

Hitting a 4-hybrid, she pushed her approach well right of the green, into an impossible position. Although she wandered into the cliff-side brush to search for her ball, it was never found. There is a local rule in play this week where players are allowed to hit from a 172-yard drop zone if their ball lands in the gnarly grass right of the green, which is what Zhang did. Including the penalty stroke, she made double bogey.

Zhang dropped another shot at the par-4 10thth, failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker, again after being in the fairway off the tee. She finished with a 2-over 74, leaving her tied for 39th, six off the lead.

“It was a bit of a struggle out there. I felt like the game in general was pretty solid. It was just the mishap on 8 that kind of turned my entire round a little bit,” she said.

Full-field scores from the US Women’s Open

For the day, she hit 12 of 14 fairways but only 11 of 18 greens in regulation. She was 3 of 7 in scrambling, ranking T-105 in the field.

In addition to Nos. 8 and 10, she missed the green from the fairway at the 15th. She also failed to find the putting surface from a tee at the par-3 fifth and made bogey.

At the par-3 17thth, playing 183 yards, Zhang hit the green and nearly made birdie – by chipping in. Her tee shot landed on the right, front portion of the peanut-shaped green, leaving her with 53 feet and a mound to navigate.

She clipped a wedge perfectly and nearly holed out, reminiscent of Gary Woodland’s Sunday shot on the same hole when he won the 2019 US Open.

“Once I saw where my ball was, I couldn’t even think about even putting it. So it was a really good shot. It was a bit risky but I felt like that was the shot of the day,” she said, adding that it was the first time she had ever chipped on a green in competition.

Still, the birdie drought continued for Zhang through the end of the round. After again hitting the fairway at the par-5 18th and leaving herself with a gap wedge following a layup, Zhang bounced her third shot over the green. She got a free drop from a sprinkler head and saved a couple.

“I felt like I was just trying to grind out there,” she said. “Trying to get some numbers in. Hopefully tomorrow I can just have a good day’s rest and then play well in the morning.”