Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Rose Zhang Releases Dominant Amateur Defense To Turn Pro

Rose Zhang dominated amateur golf like no other woman in the modern game. Now the Stanford star is ready for the best.

Zhang announced Friday that he is turning pro, ending an amateur career in which the 20-year-old Stanford sophomore holds a record 12 wins, one more than Tiger Woods, in just 20 tournaments.

She won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, followed it up with a second straight NCAA title and No. 1 in the world amateur rankings for 141 weeks, another record.

“Wow… it’s finally done,” Zhang announced on Instagram. “The endless love, support and inspiration of many people has brought me here in my career.”

She will not lack opportunities: the other four majors, including the US Women’s Open and the British Women’s Open, have given her special vacations.

The Women’s Open at Pebble Beach, the most iconic US Open, for the first time. Although no longer an amateur, Zhang became the first player to receive an individual wild card into the US Women’s Open without holding LPGA status with Michelle Wie West.

“This is a big time for our sport, and I really appreciate the USGA opportunity to be part of it,” Zhang said.

She is also rarely invited to British Women’s.

“Rose Zhang is an incredible shooting talent who has already written her name into the history books of amateur shooting,” said Martin Slumbers, R&A CEO. “It is very rare that we grant a special exemption to open AIG Women, but we believe that Rose’s exceptional achievements will put her inclusion on the Walton Heath campus.”

Zhang will make her debut next week at the Mizuho Americas Open, a new tournament hosted by Michelle Wie West at Liberty National in New Jersey.

“Rosa is one of the greatest amateur golfers in the history of the game, male or female, and we are pleased to welcome her to our course,” said Jerry Rizzieri, president and CEO of Mizuho Securities USA.

An example of the hype that Zhang brings to the professional game. But then again, expectations have turned since she won the US Women’s Amateur and US Junior Girls. She was the eighth player to win both, but her first Women’s Amateur (age 17) win in June.

With two NCAA titles (Stanford won the team title last year), the last part of his unique career was the Augusta Womens Amateur National, already among the elite amateur events, because it was held in the house of the Masters.

Kruger will also play in the Queens City Championship in Cincinnati, an event sponsored by Excel Sports, a management agency.

Zhang already has NIL contracts at Stanford, and she will combine prodigious talent with remarkable grace and humility, and will be among the top-paid women in corporate endowments. Those announcements are expected next week.

Zhang grew up in Irvine, California, and spent two years at Stanford. His 12 career titles, the most recent of the NCAA championships, was a record previously held by Tiger Woods, Patrick Rodgers and Maverick McNealy. PAC tied 12 records from Lorena Ochoa in Arizona.

Zhang reached No. 1 for the first time in the women’s amateur rankings in September 2020. She broke Lydia Ko’s record for 130 consecutive weeks at No. 1 and the overall record (141 weeks) was set by Leona Maguire.

With two openings, the KPMG Women’s PGA in Baltusrol and the Amundi Evian Championship in France, Zhang received wild cards to play the Dana Open near Toledo, Ohio, and the Canadian Women’s Open. He could qualify for another LPGA event if he finishes in the top 10.

While turning professional, Zhang said he will finish his degree at Stanford.


AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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