Marc SchlabachESPN Senior Writer2 minute read
Stanford sophomore Rose Zhang, the most decorated player in women’s amateur golf history, announced Friday that she is turning professional.
The first woman to win two individual NCAA Division I national championships, Zhang will make her LPGA debut at next week’s inaugural Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.
“The endless love, support and inspiration of so many people has brought me to this point in my golfing career,” Zhang posted on Instagram. “From my teammates to my coaches and coaches, to my friends and family, you have all been an integral part of my journey, shaping me as a person and a player while making sacrifices for my success. allowed me to pursue my dreams.”
The United States Golf Association, shortly after Zhang’s announcement, granted her a special exemption Friday for the US Women’s Open, which will be played July 6-9 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.
Zhang, 20, of Irvine, Calif., also received a bye and is scheduled to play the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England, Aug. 10-13.
She is a three-time winner of the McCormack Medal, awarded annually to the best amateur player in the world by the R&A. She has held No. 1 in the World Women’s Amateur Golf Rankings for a record 141 consecutive weeks, since September 2020.
In two seasons at Stanford, Zhang has won 12 times in 20 starts, including eight times in 10 events this season. Tiger Woods has won 11 times in 26 starts during his career with the Cardinal.
Zhang has won the Annika Award as the top college golfer for the past two seasons. She set NCAA single-season scoring records twice averaging 69.68 as a freshman and 68.81 as a sophomore. She averaged 69.42 in 62 collegiate rounds.
“Stanford is truly a special place with special people,” Zhang wrote in her post. “I would never take these incredible memories and experiences for granted. With that in mind, as I pursue my professional career, I will continue to graduate for years to come. Stanford fam forever.”
As an amateur, Zhang won the 2020 US Women’s Amateur, 2021 US Girls’ Junior and Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April.
“It’s cliché to say, but I never dreamed of having the opportunity to coach the greatest female amateur of all time,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said in a statement. “Rose Zhang led our team with class on and off the golf course every day for two years. She broke every record, won every championship, and took our team to the pinnacle of college golf. I’ll never coach someone like Rose again – she’s a generational player.”