West Ranch’s Zoe Campos reflects on time at Augusta National Women’s Amateur

Zoe Campos watches her drive during Day 2 of the USGA Women's Amateur Four-Ball Tournament at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif. on April 29, 2018. Katharine Lotze/For the Signal

Holding a physical invitation to the first-ever Augusta National Women’s Amateur, Zoe Campos was in shock.

“My ranking was pretty low, but I was pretty excited to be part of the first of that tournament,” the West Ranch senior said of when she received the invite.

Campos wasn’t going to have a spring break like the rest of her West Ranch classmates. Leaving for the Amateur on March 31 immediately after a different tournament, she spent the week in Evans, Georgia competing in the biggest tournament she could imagine going to.

She finished the Amateur tied for fifth place and the experiences she had throughout the week made her a better, more confident golfer.

“I wasn’t really pushing myself too hard to like, be at the top or even win it,” Campos said. “I just wanted to be there for the really good experience because it’s the best tournament out there right now.

“I wasn’t too harsh on myself about where to be on the leaderboard, but I just kept my self esteem pretty high but not too high to overreact.”

Campos began the tournament at 103 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. By the end of the first day, she was tied for first place with Wake Forest senior Jennifer Kupcho, the top-ranked amateur in the world.

After a birdie on the final hole, Campos was able to tie with Kupcho for the top spot on Day 1 with a 4-under 68.

“Going into the first round I wasn’t thinking too much and I really just wanted to go out there and play but after that, since was at the top, I had to think more about my strategy and everything,” Campos said.

The speed of the perfectly manicured greens at Champions Retreat Golf Club provided a challenge for Campos, a UCLA commit, in Rounds 1 and 2. Additionally, she had to adjust to a time difference and change in climate in Georgia.

Nevertheless, Campos remained focused on herself. She birdied on three holes in the second round to finish 3-over at the end of the day and advance to the final round at Augusta National. She had three more birdies in the third and final round and didn’t bogey until the 12th hole to finish tied for fifth.

She’s happy with her finish, but definitely wants to make a return to the event.

“I’d love to go back to this tournament, since i twas the best one I played yet and it was just a really good experience seeing everyone out there supporting women’s golf,” she said. “I think that was amazing.”

Campos, who is now ranked 102 worldwide, was the third-youngest golfer in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. More than she was excited to represent the next generation of golfers, she was thrilled to see more support for women’s golf.

“Being a female for this kind of tournament its a pretty big deal since it is the first one at Augusta and for amateurs and I think having this tournament is going to push more bigger things for females in the future,” she said.

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