HARRISON, NY — Defending champion Rose Zhang dropped out of the U.S. women’s amateur in the first round of the game on Wednesday, with qualifying medalist Rachel Kuehn, one of seven of the top eight contenders to fall.
Elle Nachmann, a sophomore from Boca Raton, Florida who earned a 4.0 GPA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, beat Zhang 1 at Westchester Country Club.
The 18-year-old Zhang, from Irvine, California, won the US Girls’ Junior two weeks ago at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She won the Women’s Amateur Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland last year.
“This week I just did not have the best match,” said Stanford-bound Zhang, the world’s best amateur. “I had to play through, and then of course you can make no mistakes in the game.”
Nachmann tied it with the par-4 15th, taking the lead with the par-3 16th and equaling Zhang with a par on the par-4 17th and a birdie on the par-5 18th.
“I feel great,” said Nachmann, 1968th. “I knew she was going to be a tough competitor. It really makes me very confident.”
Nachmann will face third-seeded Brooke Matthews of Rogers, Arkansas. Matthews, who plays in Arkansas, beat Brittany Shin of Cape Coral, Florida, by 5 and 4, respectively.
Kuehn, a Wake Forest player from Asheville, North Carolina, fell 1 against Kentucky’s Marissa Wenzler from Dayton, Ohio. Wenzler will face Hailey Borja of Lake Forest, California, a 3-and-2 winner from Yilin Liu of Irvine, California.
Wenzler survived a 12-for-2 playoff game on Tuesday to play in game.
Wenzler’s Kentucky teammate Jensen Castle of West Columbia, South Carolina, who finished second in the playoffs, beat Kennedy Pedigo, no. 2, of Fort Worth, Texas, 3 and 2 won.
Second place in the rankings, Rachel Heck, the NCAA individual champion at Stanford, achieved the largest winning margin and beat Karen Tsuru, of Carlsbad, California, by 7 and 5 respectively.