Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

What’s Next for Rose Zhang?

What's Next for Rose Zhang?
(Newscom/Alamy)

Every amateur golfer plans to turn professional someday. However, not many players experience the meteoric rise to the top as Rose Zhang has. The 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion realized her calling at the age of nine and has been swinging clubs ever since. Many experts have described Zhang as a once-in-a-lifetime generational player whose name will go down in the books of history.

Early Beginnings

The 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion gets her roots from Arcadia, California where she attended the Pacific Academy. Zhang picked up golf aged 9, and by the time she was 16, the star was already holding her own on the global stage.

In 2019, aged 16, she participated in the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open and was also among the youngest competitors in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Star Amateur Career

Zhang unleashed her talent in 2020 when she defeated Gabriela Ruffels to scoop the U.S. Women’s Amateur in August. The following month, her ratings improved after finishing T-11 at the 2020 ANA Inspiration, propelling her to number 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. 

Zhang proved to be the ultimate top amateur after holding onto the No. 1 position for 141 straight weeks, breaking a record previously held by Leona Maguire for the overall record. The star has bagged the Mark H. McCormack Medal thrice as the top-ranked amateur from 2021-2023.

In 2021, Zhang enrolled at Stanford University and also won the U.S. Girls’ Junior. As a Cardinal, she broke many records, including winning the individual NCAA Championship twice. She then scooped 12 wins in 20 tournaments, breaking the 11-win record previously held by Tiger Woods, Maverick McNealy, and Patrick Rodgers.

In terms of commercial success, Zhang became the first student-athlete to be signed by Adidas in a comprehensive name, image, and likeness deal in 2022. Unlike most of her colleagues in college golf, Zhang tasted the fiscal fruits of golf early, which may have informed her decision to turn pro in May 2023.

Major Achievements So Far

Some of the most iconic achievements on Rose Zhang’s CV so far include:

  • First female golfer to win back-to-back NCAA Division 1 trophies
  • Recorded more wins (12) at Stanford than Tiger Woods
  • Won the US Girls Junior Championship
  • Was part of two Solheim Cup-winning teams
  • Spent most weeks as the women’s No.1 amateur
  • Won the 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur
  • Was the leading amateur at the 2022 AIG Women’s Open
  • Has been part of two Curtis Cup-winning teams
  • Won the US Women’s Amateur Championship