Sophie Zhang-Murphy flips the script, wins Southwestern Women’s Amateur

Chris Brauner

Sophia Zhang-Murphy (Saratoga, Calif.), a rising sophomore at Princeton University, shot a final-round 68, her fourth straight round in the 60s to win the Southwestern Women’s Amateur at Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

For three rounds on the Cochise Course at Desert Mountain, as in the Men’s championship, the field looked up to a leader who was attempting to go wire-to-wire.

Reagan Zibilski (Springfield, Mo.) of the University of Arkansas entered the day with a one-shot lead over Zhang-Murphy, who made her first dent in Zibilski’s lead when she chipped out of a ditch to a tap-in putt for birdie on hole four. From there, she continued to claw her way up the leaderboard, finishing with four birdies on the front nine. Meanwhile, Zibilski settled for an even-par scorecard at the turn.

That gave Zhang-Murphy a three-shot lead over Zibilski, and four over defending champion Camille Boyd (Yorba Linda, Calif./University of Washington). From there, Zhang-Murphy was able to play steady golf, shooting even-par on the back nine, although Boyd would make it close at the end with her own 4-under 68.

Zhang-Murphy bogeyed the par-3 17th hole to allow Boyd to pull within two, but Boyd’s birdie finish on No. 18 was only enough to make the final margin one shot.

“Throughout this whole tournament, I’ve just had to focus on playing my own game, going one shot at a time,” said Zhang-Murphy. “Everybody misses putts, everyone hits bad shots sometimes, so I was just keeping that in mind and moving forward.”

L-R: Reagan ZIbilski, Sophie Zhang-Murphy, Camille Boyd

Zhang-Murphy finished at 14-under 274, one shot ahead of Boyd and three ahead of Zibilski, who finished solo third after a final=round 72. Her victory makes her the third champion since the introduction of the women’s championship, joining Ching-Tsu Chen (2021) and Boyd (2022).

Ashley Menne (Surprise, Ariz.) of Arizona State was fourth at 10 under, while Minori Nagano (Tokyo, Japan) of the University of Oregon rounded out the top five at 9 under par. Menne and Nagano were the only players in the field other than the winner to shoot four rounds under par.

In all, 13 players finished 72 holes under par.