Rose Zhang Makes History as First LPGA Golfer to Win Tournament in Pro Debut Since 1951
In a historic moment for women’s golf, reigning NCAA champion Rose Zhang has become the first LPGA golfer to win a tournament in her pro debut since 1951. Zhang, who just finished her freshman year at Stanford University, won the Mizuho Americas Open in a playoff against Japan’s Nasa Hataoka.
Zhang’s win has been met with immense praise from the golf world, with Golf Channel calling her a “rare star” and ESPN noting that she “showed no fear” in her first LPGA Tour start.
The 18-year-old from Irvine, California, became famous in 2017 when she became the youngest player to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur at just 14 years old. She went on to win the same tournament again in 2020, setting a record for the largest margin of victory in the event’s history.
Zhang’s success on the amateur circuit carried over into her pro debut, where she displayed impressive poise and skill under pressure. In the final round of the tournament, she sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff against Hataoka, who had led the tournament since the second round.
The playoff lasted just one hole, with Zhang hitting a clutch 5-foot putt to secure the victory. She finished the tournament with a total score of 18 under par, further solidifying her status as a rising star in the world of golf.
Zhang’s win also marks a significant moment for women’s golf, as she becomes just the third amateur golfer in LPGA history to win a tournament. Her success is sure to inspire a new generation of young female golfers and shatter old stereotypes about the sport.
As Zhang herself put it in a post-tournament interview: “Hopefully, this is just the beginning for me and for women’s golf.”