HARRISON, N.Y. — Defending champion Rose Zhang tumbled out of the U.S. Women’s Amateur in the first-round of match play Wednesday, with qualifying medalist Rachel Kuehn one of seven of the top eight seeds to fall.
Elle Nachmann, a sophomore from Boca Raton, Florida, who carries a 4.0 GPA in the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, beat Zhang 1 up at Westchester Country Club.
The 18-year-old Zhang, from Irvine, California, won the U.S. Girls’ Junior two weeks ago at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She won the Women’s Amateur last year Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland.
“Coming into this week I just didn’t have the best game,” said the Stanford-bound Zhang, the top-ranked amateur in the world. “I had to grind through stroke play, and then in match play obviously you can’t make any mistakes.”
Nachmann tied it with a par on the par-4 15th, took the lead with a par on the par-3 16th and matched Zhang with a par on the par-4 17th and a birdie on the par-5 18th.
“I’m feeling amazing,” said Nachmann, ranked 1,968th. “I knew that she was going to be a tough competitor. It really, really makes me confident.”
Nachmann will face third-seeded Brooke Matthews of Rogers, Arkansas. Matthews, who plays at Arkansas, beat Brittany Shin of Cape Coral, Florida, 5 and 4.
Kuehn, a Wake Forest player from Asheville, North Carolina, fell 1 up to Kentucky’s Marissa Wenzler of Dayton, Ohio. Wenzler will face Hailey Borja of Lake Forest, California, a 3-and-2 winner of Yilin Liu of Irvine, California.
Wenzler survived a 12-for-2 playoff Tuesday to get into match play.
Wenzler’s Kentucky teammate, Jensen Castle of West Columbia, South Carolina, who earned the other spot in the playoff, beat No. 2 seed Kennedy Pedigo, of Fort Worth, Texas, 3 and 2.
Second-ranked Rachel Heck, the NCAA individual champion at Stanford, had the biggest margin of victory, beating Karen Tsuru, of Carlsbad, California, 7 and 5.