Meet Rose Zhang: The future face of women’s golf going for victory at the AIG Women’s Open


We take a look at Rose Zhang, one of the rising stars of women’s golf, ahead of the AIG Women’s Open; watch the final women’s major of the year from Walton Heath from Thursday exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf

        Meet Rose Zhang: The future face of women's golf going for victory at the AIG Women's Open

The final major of the season in women’s golf major season gets under way at Walton Heath on August 10 – you can catch all of the action live on Sky Sports

Most students’ college years look very different to Rose Zhang’s, but most college students don’t win their on their LPGA Tour debut just a week after turning 20.

With the AIG Women’s Open around the corner, we take a look at one of the competition’s brightest contenders…

A college career to remember: A sign of things to come?

For those who exist week-in week-out in the world of golf, Zhang was already a force on the college circuit, being the first woman to win two individual NCAA championships for Stanford.

Of all Zhang’s impressive amateur wins, including the US Women’s Amateur in 2020 and the US Girls’ Junior in 2021, her fortitude as a golfer came to the fore in her win at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur 2023.

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From losing a six-shot lead, which would break many a player’s resolve, Zhang fought back and won overall on a second hole playoff against Jenny Bae, cementing her as one of the professional game’s ones to watch for the future.

        Meet Rose Zhang: The future face of women's golf going for victory at the AIG Women's Open

Highlights from day four of the Mizuho Americas Open where Rose Zhang became the first player since 1951 to win on the LPGA Tour in a professional debut

Not only was she a record-maker with wins, she spent 141 weeks on top of the amateur rankings, showing she not only just shows up on the biggest stages but is a consistent performer too and sticks true to her belief that her game shouldn’t change despite now turning professional.

“Now that I’m a professional, I believe it still feels the same,” said Zhang ahead of the AIG Women’s Open.

“It’s just a different status that I have now. A lot has happened in the past year, and I’ve been very grateful for those experiences.

“But when you’re out there on the golf course and you’re playing difficult courses like this, you’re going to have be to able to put golf in front of you and be sure to make sure that you’re technically trying to get the ball in the hole.”

That steely resolve combined with her ability to thrive under pressure is what led to an LPGA debut to remember…

That debut: The world will remember the name Rose Zhang

The first women to win on her LPGA debut was Beverly Hanson, who won at the 1951 Eastern Open. The next was Zhang at the 2023 Mizuho Americas Open – that is how monumental a moment Zhang’s debut was.

The expectation of debutantes very rarely match the reality but in May Zhang delivered, once again on a second playoff hole, this time against Jennifer Kupcho.

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It was just 13 days between Zhang winning her second individual NCAA Championship and her first LPGA event, but that 13th day saw her golf stardom rise to stratospheric heights.

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The likes of Justin Rose and Max Homa took to social media to congratulate the young star as the golfing world sat in awe of what she achieved. She brought the determination she was renowned for into the most pressurised of situations as all eyes were fixed firmly on her.

She took the victory, celebrations ensued. Then, congratulations came from another Stanford golfing hero…

The next Tiger Woods?

“Incredible few weeks for Rose Zhang, defends her NCAA title and then wins in her Pro debut. Go card!” wrote Tiger Woods after she claimed the win at the Mizuho Americas Open in a seal of approval for her fellow Cardinal.

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It is not an overstatement to say that the hype around Zhang’s arrival on the professional circuit is a parallel to that when one Woods began his career.

Her second NCAA title was her 12th win for Stanford and saw her break Woods’ previously held record of 11 wins for the school, a feat many didn’t believe would ever happen.

Stanford Records: Rose Zhang vs Tiger Woods

Tournaments: 20 26
Wins: 12 11

Not only does she have the talent, her stardom is providing a bridge between the PGA and LPGA Tours, many fans tuning in to see how she fares, and many now choosing to follow Zhang around the course.

That is quite the precedent for someone who has only appeared five times in the professional ranks and it is one that will only increase if a major win comes her way.

Still to come: Could a major win be on the horizon

Since her famous opening win, Zhang has gone on to compete in three majors, finishing eighth in the Women’s PGA Championship and ninth in the US Women’s Open and the Evian Championship.

        Meet Rose Zhang: The future face of women's golf going for victory at the AIG Women's Open

Zhang hit an incredible trick shot in her practice round ahead of the United States Women’s Open Championship

Many feel her first major win is not far away and with the AIG Women’s Open on the horizon, it would be the opportune moment for Zhang to take another step forward in an already glittering career.

Zhang has competed twice in the Women’s Open as an amateur, making the cut and finishing 28th in 2022.

With so much more experience under her belt, much more is expected of Zhang at Walton Heath this week and if she delivers, there is no saying what it could mean for her confidence, her career, and the legacy she will leave on women’s golf.

“I would just say that I think in the majors that I’ve played in so far this year, it’s been pretty incredible to just be able to compete as a professional,” said Zhang.

        Meet Rose Zhang: The future face of women's golf going for victory at the AIG Women's Open

Ahead of the AIG Women’s Open, Zhang discusses the challenges of trying to balance professional golf while also studying at university

“Last year and the last couple years, I’ve been able to have somewhat of an experience as an amateur in playing these major championships.

“I knew how hard and how gruelling every single week is, so taking that into consideration, making sure I’m preparing my body and making sure that I’m going out there and having a really good strategy has allowed me to commit to my game when I’m out there playing.

“No doubt, it’s really hard to be out there, and you know that it’s a big event, but keeping yourself in composure and in your stride is something that I’ve done well in the last three events.

“I know that I have the mental grit to be able to compete well on these difficult golf courses, so going into this major week, it’s all the same, and it’s the same kind of drive that I had in the previous.”

Watch the AIG Women’s Open this month live on Sky Sports. The preview show is live on Wednesday August 9 from 4pm on Sky Sports Golf, while coverage of the opening round starts on Thursday August 10 at 11am. Stream the AIG Women’s Open with NOW.


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