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As easy as the first two rounds of the 2023 Augusta National Women's Amateur were for Rose Zhang, the final was anything but a walk in the park. Beginning the day at 13 under and in possession of a five-stroke lead after rounds of 66-65 at Champions Retreat, Zhang battled elements, a timely weather delay, her fellow competitors and, most importantly, herself en route to a dramatic playoff victory over Jenny Bae at Augusta National Golf Club.

Despite the turbulence, the world No. 1 acted as the world No. 1 when it mattered most. After making double bogey on her opening hole and seeing her lead trimmed to three in a matter of moments, Zhang bounced back immediately with a birdie on No. 2. With her nearest competitor, Bae, up ahead in the penultimate group struggling on the par-4 3rd, Zhang's lead ballooned to six.

Three bogeys over her next five holes saw Zhang's lead cut to two as Bae and Zhang's playing partner, Andrea Lignell, were charging. Just then, weather rolled into the area and provided a much-needed break for Zhang; the three-hour window allowed her regather herself before the final crucial stretch of the tournament.

"I am sure one thing she is relying on is her experience the first year she was here going right at the turn to 13, that will probably be in her mind," Stanford coach Anne Walker said during the weather delay. "I don't know for this to be true, but I would expect her to be thinking that she wants to get to the fat side of the hole and two-putt her way to the 18th hole."

Zhang persisted, as all greats do, and looked much more comfortable post-delay, citing a grip change to allow her to find the sweet spot on her driver more consistently. Yet Bae, the fifth-year senior at Georgia, hung tough and remained within arm's reach of Zhang with pars on 10-12 before a birdie on the final hole of Amen Corner, the par-5 13th, got her within one.

The sophomore at Stanford appeared to have braved the storm and doubled her margin with a birdie of her own on the 13th. Yet just two holes later, Zhang made the head-scratching decision to go for the par-5 15th in two.

In the middle of the fairway with a two-stroke lead, Zhang's second found a watery grave -- similar to Hideki Matsuyama in 2021 -- and went onto to card a bogey. The lead was still in the 19-year-old's hands, but after a dart was thrown by Bae up ahead on the 17th, suddenly, for first the first time since Wednesday afternoon, Zhang had company atop the leaderboard.

Pars were exchanged by the two leaders over the last handful of holes resulting in a final-round 76 from Zhang to drop to 9 under, creating just the second playoff of the event's history. Zhang put on a clinic in extra time, appearing to heed to the advice of her coach, peppering both fairways as well as both greens and proving to be too much when Bae found trouble on the second playoff hole.

"It's so sweet," said Zhang. "It's been a long day today. We've had a weather delay, and coming into today, I already had a little feel of the jitters. I just think that for this day to end in this way, I am just so, so thankful. I couldn't have done it without any support from my family, my friends and my teammates here on site."

For Zhang, this victory is just more of the same. Atop the women's amateur game for two years now, she has won just about every tournament she has entered. Nine times a winner at Stanford and a U.S. Amateur champion, this triumph at the Augusta National Women's Amateur puts a bow on an incredible -- and likely historical -- amateur career with still time ticking.

With her win, Zhang receives invitation into the next five playings of the ANWA (should she remain an amateur), the 2023 U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach, the 2023 Women's Open, the Chevron Championship and any USGA, R&A and PGA of America amateur championships for one year.

"I can't put anything into words," said Zhang. "I am just so, so thankful, so, so blessed to even just be able to participate in these events let alone win, and I am always humbly grateful for everything that I have. All the experiences that I have are surpassed with friendships, relationships that I've made and I'm just so grateful to be in this moment and see that trophy in front of me."