LPGA phenom Rose Zhang lists another first at T-Mobile Match Play

Rose Zhang and the rest of the afternoon wave on Day 2 at the LPGA’s T-Mobile Match Play dealt with strong wind conditions.

Zhang carded a 1-over 73 on the day to sit at 4-under for the tournament.

At one point, the LPGA phenom held a two-stroke lead but saw it diminish into a four-way tie as she bogeyed her final two holes.

She, Angel Yin, Carlota Ciganda, and Sei Young Kim are all tied for the lead.

Despite the late struggles, it’s another first for the 20-year-old. This is the first time Zhang has held at least a share of the lead through 36 holes.

She previously became the first woman to win back-to-back NCAA individual national championships. She then followed that up by becoming the first woman to win her LPGA debut since Beverly Hanson did so in 1951.

Zhang started strong Thursday, making two birdies in her first four holes. However, she coughed up a shot on the par-3 5th to make the turn in 35 strokes.

She recorded three bogeys, three pars and one birdie in her final seven holes. It was a grind for the youngster. Yet, she hung in there.

There were 40 mph wind gusts throughout the afternoon. No one in that wave shot under par.

“Shadow on its own is always a very difficult golf course and very easy to shoot over par here,” Zhang said. “With the wind, makes it tenfold a lot harder. So when I saw a little bit of the scores and the cut line, it justifies how difficult we played it today.”

The first cut of match play happened after Thursday’s round. By the end of the day, the projected line went from 5-over to 9-over. It’s the highest cutline since the 2020 AIG Women’s Open.

Another cut will be made on Friday to the top eight. If there are any ties, there will be a playoff. Then, the tournament moves to match play.

This is a switch from the event’s first three years when it was entirely match play.

Now, the LPGA is taking more of a collegiate NCAA tournament-style approach. They also play stroke play, and then the top eight teams head to match play.

Zhang will play alongside Yin and Ciganda for Friday’s final stroke-play tee time at 2:31 p.m. ET.

She looks to build off her momentum from the first two days and potentially win her second LPGA event.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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