Stanford sophomore Rose Zhangthe most successful female golfer in amateur women’s golf history announced on Friday that she was turning professional.
The first woman to win two individual NCAA Division I National Championships, Zhang will make her LPGA debut at next week’s inaugural Mizuho Americas Open at the Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.
“Endless love, support and inspiration from so many people have brought me to this point in my golf career” Zhang posted on Instagram. “From my teammates to my coaches and coaches to my friends and family, you have all been an integral part of my journey, shaping me as a person and as a player while making sacrifices for my success. You have enabled me to pursue my dream.”
The United States Golf Association, shortly after Zhang’s announcement, granted her a special waiver on Friday for the US Women’s Open, which will be played July 6-9 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California.
Zhang, 20, from Irvine, California, has also been granted a waiver and is expected to attend the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England from August 10-13.
She is a three-time winner of the McCormack Medal, awarded annually by the R&A to the best amateur player in the world. She held the No. 1 spot in the Women’s Amateur Golf World Rankings for a record 141 consecutive weeks as of September 2020.
In two seasons at Stanford, Zhang won 12 times in 20 starts, including eight times in 10 events this season. Tiger Woods he won 11 times in 26 starts in the Cardinal’s career.
Zhang won the Annika Award as the top varsity golfer in the last two seasons. She set NCAA single-season scoring records twice with a 69.68 average as a freshman and 68.81 as a sophomore. She had a 69.42 average over 62 collegiate rounds.
“Stanford is a truly special place with special people,” Zhang wrote in her post. “I would never take these incredible memories and experiences for granted. With this in mind, as I continue my professional career, I will continue to pursue my degree in the years to come. Stanford Family Forever”.
As an amateur, Zhang won the 2020 US Women’s Amateur, 2021 US Junior and Augusta National Amateur in April.
“It’s a cliché statement, but I never dreamed of being able to coach the greatest amateur of all time,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said in a statement. “Rose Zhang led our team with style both on and off the course, every day for two years. She broke every record, won every championship, and led our team to the top of college golf. I’m sure I’ll never coach anyone like Rose again – she’s a generational athlete.”