Stanford star, top-ranked amateur Rose Zhang officially turns pro after back-to-back national titles

Stanford star and top-ranked female amateur Rose Zhang officially turns professional.

Zhang announced on Instagram on Friday that she would finally turn professional. The 20-year-old second will make her debut at the inaugural Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club next week.

“The endless love, support and inspiration of so many people has brought me to this point in my golfing career,” Zheng wrote in part. “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 a player while making sacrifices for my success. You allowed me to pursue my dreams… Stanford is truly a special place with special people. I would never take these incredible memories and experiences for granted. With this in mind, while pursuing my professional career, I will continue to graduate in the years to come. Stanford family forever.

“I appreciate everyone who continues to believe and support me as I embark on this new chapter of my life. With faith in God’s plan, I am excited for what is to come.

Rose was quickly granted an exemption to play in the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in July by the USGA on Friday. She also received a bye for the AIG Women’s Open in Surrey, England in August.

The Irvine, Calif. native is perhaps the greatest amateur golfer in history. Zhang has won the McCormack Medal – an award given to the world’s top amateur player by the R&A – three times and won the Annika Award – which is given to the top female collegiate player – twice. She set the NCAA single-season points record twice, lowering it to 68.81 in her second season, and averaged 69.42 in 62 rounds.

Rose Zhang

Rose Zhang was the highest-ranked amateur golfer for a record 141 consecutive weeks and has won more in fewer outings at Stanford than Tiger Woods. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

She won the 2020 US Women’s Amateur, 2021 US Girls’ Junior and Augusta National Women’s Amateur earlier this year. Zhang made the cut at the 2019 US Women’s Open as a 16-year-old and finished 11th at the 2020 ANA Inspiration – which is one of the LPGA’s five major championships.

She also won back-to-back NCAA individual titles — making her the first woman to do so at the Division I level — and led the Cardinal to a national team title last year. Zhang has won 12 of the 20 varsity tournaments she has appeared in, including eight of the 10 she entered last season, and tied the Pac-12 women’s golf winning record. Tiger Woods won just 11 times in 26 starts while playing at Stanford.

Zhang has been ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings for a record 141 consecutive weeks, since September 2020.

“It’s cliché to say, but I never dreamed of having the opportunity to coach the greatest female amateur of all time,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said in a statement. “Rose Zhang led our team with class on and off the golf course every day for two years. She broke every record, won every championship, and took our team to the pinnacle of college golf. I’ll never coach someone like Rose again – she’s a generational player. Everyone at Stanford is better off to have been around Rose and we’re thrilled she’s a lifetime cardinal.

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