Update 8:30 p.m. ET: In a two-hole playoff over Jennifer Kupcho, Zhang won the Mizuho Americas Open and $412,500. She’s also now a fully-exempt player on the LPGA Tour.
Those familiar with the golf world have likely heard the name Rose Zhang popping up repeatedly the last several years. The Stanford Cardinal sophomore dominated amateur golf in an unprecedented fashion, earning a title that many thought would never be bestowed on any future golfer: The Next Tiger Woods.
Woods himself shook Zhang’s hand at Augusta National earlier this year after spotting her in the crowd during a practice round. Think it’s an exaggeration? In May Zhang, who just turned 20, broke Woods’ Stanford record for most wins as a Cardinal. She hit 12 wins in two years — Woods had 11 in three.
The two-time NCAA national champion is now playing her first-ever professional LPGA event, and is on track to win it — which of course would make its way into the golf history books. Heading into the final round of the Mizuho Americas Open on Sunday morning, Zhang sat alone atop the leaderboard at -11, two shots clear of the field. If she wins, she will become the first golfer to win her LPGA debut since 1951. There hasn’t been a rookie making this sort of impact on the sport since Woods himself back in the late 1990s.
And Woods only won a single NCAA Championship, which was in 1996 before he took to the PGA TOUR later that calendar year after three seasons of eligibility. So yes, she’s the most-decorated Stanford golfer ever, and would have had two years left to compete if not for the whole “getting paid” thing.
You can tune into the final round on Peacock from 3:30-5 p.m. ET and on the Golf Channel from 5-7:30 p.m. ET.