Rose Zhang mounts insane comeback to win Cognizant Founders Cup in epic fashion

Rose Zhang and Madelene Sagström entered the final round of the Cognizant Founders Cup in a two-woman race. Both were 10 clear of the entire field as Nelly Korda fell off on moving day.

Zhang found herself three shots down through 13 holes and had just a nine percent chance to win.

The 20-year-old phenom then went nuclear on the final five holes and defeated the Swede by two shots as she carded a bogey-free 6-under 66 to finish 24-under. Zhang played phenomenal golf all week, going 63-68-67-66.

She made four birdies in her final five holes to secure the insane comeback win.

“I’m still shaking right now,” Zhang said. “I never gave up. I always knew I had something in me to just grind it out, enjoy the time. Madelene is an extremely solid player, so without further ado, she was basically hitting every single shot next to the hole, making putts. I had to prepare myself for the toughest challenge. But it’s crazy that this happened.”

It marks her second LPGA career win in less than 12 months on Tour. Zhang previously became the first woman since Beverly Hanson in 1954 to win her LPGA Tour debut at the 2023 Mizuho Americas Open. That happens to be next week’s tournament.

Sagström looked unbeatable all day until she coughed up a shot on par-4 16th. Meanwhile, the Stanford Cardinal took the lead by one on 17 after she made a clutch birdie putt. Both players hit an incredible approach shot on 18, leaving each with a look at birdie.

But Zhang was away with a putt to clinch it.

She stepped up to the ball like a veteran and made a confident stroke on the ball. It tracked perfectly and eventually dropped right into the hole.

This weekend has been all about Sagström and Zhang. They battled all week, and the final 18 felt more like match play than a stroke play event.

“It almost felt like match play. I was telling my dad in the car yesterday that I played her at Solheim Cup last year, and I knew she was a solid player,” Zhang said. “No matter what anyone else says, I know she can rise to the occasion — no problem. So I had to stay patient and find it in me to get it done.”

The world has watched her excel at every level and has grown to expect great things from Zhang.

From back-to-back individual national championships at Stanford to winning her debut and now this comeback victory — Zhang is clutch.

This victory will push Zhang into the Top 15 on the Rolex World Golf Rankings and into the Olympic discussion. She will head to Liberty National next week to defend her title at the Mizuho Americas Open.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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