Rose Zhang, Stanford win Inkster as other Card star has surgery

Stanford may still be the big favorite for the NCAA women’s title.

Having lost two of their usual starters for the foreseeable future, a revamped Cardinal led by megastar Rose Zhang won the Juli Inkster Collegiate titles on Tuesday. Zhang hit three of her last four holes and won her ninth college tournament by two shots, setting Andrea Lee’s high school record when Stanford beat Pac-12 USC by five shots.

Zhang has racked up five college wins this season as the sophomore is a strong leader to win her second consecutive Annika Award, which is presented to the Women’s Division I Golf Player of the Year. In the final round, she scored 5-67 and finished 11th under, a pair ahead of San Jose State’s Kaisa Arjufjall.

Sadie Englemann (T-3) and Mega Ganne (T-9) added to Stanford’s top 10 finalists, in which neither Brooke Sey (concussion) nor Rachel Heck (shoulder) was in for the third time in a row. Heck has not played since the fall home tournament at Stanford as she struggled with thoracic outlet syndrome.

Last week, Heck told she’s not sure if she can return to action this spring, while Stanford head coach Ann Walker added that Heck’s return is “up in the air.” A few weeks later, she was already eliminated from the National Women’s Amateur Tournament in Augusta. And then on Monday, Hyuk underwent surgery to remove her top rib.

“I’ll be back on course as soon as I can,” Heck said Tuesday after the successful procedure, “but in the meantime, I’ll focus on getting healthy and strong again.”

With Stanford missing two key elements, the NCAA title was brought to the fore by other top teams, including Wake Forest, which has won four times this season (five if you count its six-hit win over Stanford in parts of stroke play). Stevens Cup); Oregon, who defeated the Cardinal in Palos Verdes this spring; and even LSU, which took over the Darius Rooker Intercollegiate Society last week.

But last week, Walker said her team still has a lot of struggle ahead, and on Tuesday, the No. 1 Cardinal proved it. They don’t go anywhere.


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