Stanford holds off Oregon to win the second NCAA women’s golf national championship

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Rose Zhang wrapped up her match with a two-putt par on the 17th hole after Sofie Kibsgaard Nielson received a bizarre penalty, and Stanford beat Oregon 3-2 on Wednesday for its second national championship.

The Ducks lost the first two matches but rallied to win the next two, leaving it up to Zhang and Kibsgaard Nielson at Grayhawk Golf Club.

Leading 2 up, Zhang hit her tee shot into the rough short of the par-4 17th. Kibsgaard Nielson didn’t see the ball and rolled over it with her push cart.

Kibsgaard Nielson incurred a one-shot penalty – it wouldn’t have been in stroke play – and Zhang made a 15-foot par putt for the Pac-12’s unprecedented 200th women’s NCAA title across all sports.

Brooke Seay beat Ching-Tzu Chen 4 and 3 in the opening match, and Aline Krauter gave the Cardinal a 2-0 lead with a 5-and-3 victory over Hsin-Yu Lu.

Tze-Han Lin then beat Rachel Heck 4 and 3, giving Oregon hope with two close matches still on the course.

Briana Chacon, down two with four holes left, tied her match after Sadie Englemann couldn’t get up and down from in front of the green on 17. Chacon hit her second shot on the par-5 18th into the greenside bunker and made the 15-foot birdie putt to win 1 up, pulling the Ducks even.

Zhang, who won the individual title Monday, appeared as if she would dominate the closing match. She won the first two holes and led 3 up through 11. Kibsgaard Nielson kept her close, chipping the lead down to one with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14.

Zhang went back 2 up with a birdie on the par-4 15th and barely got her ball onto the front of the green from the rough on No. 17. With the penalty on Kibsgaard, Zhang only needed three putts to close out the match and got it down in two, sending Cardinal players charging onto the green in celebration.

The Ducks, despite coming up short in the title match, took huge strides in their fourth season under coach Derek Radley.

Oregon won the Pac-12 championship for the first time – Hsin-Yu was the individual champion – and claimed its first NCAA regional. The Ducks rolled through San Jose State and Texas A&M on Tuesday to reach their first NCAA title match.