Rose Zhang enjoyed an exceptionally promising beginning to her professional career as an LPGA Tour player after winning the Mizuho Americas Open.
The 20-year-old American, who turned professional on 26th May, defeated compatriot Jennifer Kupcho on the second hole of a play-off at the Liberty National Golf Club to become the first woman to win on the LPGA Tour in their professional debut since Beverly Hanson in the Eastern Open in 1951.
“What is happening? I just can’t believe it,” said Zhang. “It was just last week when I won NCAAs with my teammates. To turn pro and come out here, it’s just been amazing.”
“I really got a bit of everything, got a taste of the pressure, got a taste of the wind and I tried to stay composed as always. I knew that golf was just a grind and you really had to dig deep.”
Zhang missed the chance to secure victory in regulation on the 18th hole after hitting a bogey to close on a 74 and force the play-off with Kupcho who carded a nine under 69.
Zhang previously broke the record for the number of weeks as the No. 1 golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking spending a total of 141 weeks at the summit, surpassing the record set by Leona Maguire. She has also won every major women’s amateur event: the US Women’s Amateur, the US Junior Girls, the NCAAs and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Tiger Woods has praised Zhang on Twitter saying “Incredible few weeks for Rose Zhang, defends her NCAA title and then wins in her Pro debut.”
This victory has earned Zhang an automatic LPGA Tour membership.
“I understand there is going to be a lot of bumps in the road and I’m expecting a lot of obstacles,” she added. “But I think this is just the start. This is just a stepping stone.
“It’s crazy that this is my first win, first professional win already, but no doubt there is going to be a lot more things happening down the road.”
The next event on the LPGA Tour is the Shoprite LPGA Classic between June 9-11 at the Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in New Jersey.