Sadie Englemann poised to step out from the shadow of Stanford teammates at Augusta National

Sadie Englemann used to bring her iPad to class in high school to watch the pros play Amen Corner on during class. The surefooted Texan knew from a young age that she wanted to one day compete at the highest level.

Folks who follow women’s amateur golf even a little bit know two of Englemann’s highly decorated teammates at Stanford – Rose Zhang and Rachel Heck. They might even know Megha Ganne, who dazzled at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open when she played her way into the final group on Sunday as a high schooler.

But Englemann?

It’s tough to step out from the shadows cast by the greatest amateur player in the modern game (Zhang),  and the hotshot golfer who will graduate as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force (Heck).

Englemann admits she’d be lying if she said the lack of attention never bothered her. A top-10 finish at a tournament barely gets a mention when her teammates are winning every week.

“But when it’s two of your best friends in the world,” said Englemann, “it’s hard to be jealous.”

Sadie Englemann (courtesy Stanford athletics)

Englemann, now in her senior year, came to the realization if she wanted that kind of spotlight, she’d have to raise her game.

Heading into her second Augusta National Women’s Amateur April 3-6, Englemann ranks 38th in the world and boasts back-to-back top-five finishes in her last two college starts. She’s the highest-ranked Cardinal of the four who qualified for the field. Heck, still plagued by a shoulder injury, is expected to play.

The two ANWA appearances will bookend Englemann’s career at Stanford. She missed the cut the first time around, but one gets the feeling her time is coming.

“Sadie absolutely loves golf,” said Stanford coach Anne Walker. “She eats, sleeps and breathes golf all day long. Because of that, she’s always wanting to get better. She’s obsessed about getting better.”

And her game since coming to Palo Alto, said Walker, is like night and day.

“I was a good player, and I had some success in my junior career,” said Englemann, “but I was also a hothead. Anyone would tell you that.”

Unable to control her emotions on the course, a bad stretch of holes would invariably balloon into a bad round. It’s not that she gave up on the round.

“I would try so hard to get back to even par,” she explained, “that I would blow up mentally.”

A more mature Englemann has learned how to stabilize herself, pointing to significant progress in recent months.

From a technical standpoint, Walker rerouted Englemann’s swing to help her play with a fade. Englemann came to Stanford hitting a draw that sometimes became uncontrollable.

While she doesn’t have a textbook swing, Walker notes, Englemann is comfortable with her own style and has learned much about her game. In 2022, Englemann helped the Cardinal win the team NCAA title.

“To play at the highest level,” said Walker, “you have to know yourself well.”

Englemann, who will graduate in June with a degree in science, technology and society, was starstruck at her first U.S. Women’s Open last summer at Pebble Beach. At the same time, the exposure gave her confirmation she could perform among the best in the world.

Zhang won her first LPGA start as a professional last spring after claiming both the ANWA and NCAA titles.

Englemann notes that Walker never gave Zhang special treatment at Stanford. She qualified for tournaments like everyone else.

When Walker talked to the media, Englemann continued, she never focused on one player. The chemistry felt among the Stanford players – with Zhang at the center – was strong, and it was real.

Zhang propelled everyone around her to get better.

“Freshman year Sadie would’ve gone (to ANWA) just overwhelmed by the stage and all the great players,” said Walker. “Almost feeling like she was an outsider looking in.

“Senior year Sadie believes she belongs.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek