Rose Zhang says it’s time to move on. After the best two-year stint in the history of college golf, the Stanford star has announced her decision to turn professional and the anticipation of what she might do to grow women’s golf is palpable.
There hasn’t been an American player this promising since Michelle Wie West, though for vastly different reasons. Wie West’s head-turning power and presence dazzled on the professional stage long before she earned a paycheck.
Zhang’s awe-factor and respect, however, comes from the titles she has won against her peers. Simply put, she has won everything that matters – sometimes twice – and often in dominant fashion. She has won every way there is to win, most notably hanging on at Augusta National last April in brutal conditions when she mostly looked uncomfortable. She has won time and again when she’s expected to win.
“She is truly spectacular,” Wie West told Golfweek. “There’s so much pressure on her and yet she delivers time and time again.”
Zhang took to Instagram to deliver the news after becoming the first woman to win two NCAA Championship titles. She’ll make her professional debut at next week’s inaugural Mizuho Americas Open, hosted by Wie West, and enjoy a packed summer of LPGA starts, including four major championships.
“Stanford is truly a special place with special people,” Zhang wrote on Instagram. “I would never take these incredible memories and experiences for granted. With that in mind, while I am pursuing my professional career, I will continue to earn my degree in the years to come. Stanford fam forever.”
Non-members are allowed up to six LPGA exemptions per season, plus special invitations from the U.S. Women’s Open and AIG Women’s British Open. Zhang has received special invites from both championships, held this year at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Walton Heath Golf Club, respectively.
In addition, she’ll compete in the KPMG Women’s PGA at Baltusrol, the Dana Open, Amundi Evian Championship, CP Women’s Open and Kroger Queen City Championship.
Last year, the LPGA changed its top-10 rule to allow non-members to earn a start in the next week’s field after a top-10 finish in designated events. In other words, strong play could help Zhang earn even more professional starts in 2023.
Zhang could play her way onto the LPGA and avoid Q-Series in December with a victory on tour or by finishing the season with CME points that are equal to or greater than…
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