Rose Zhang claims title in play-off on professional debut
Rose Zhang enjoyed a dream start to her professional career with victory in her first event in the Mizuho Americas Open.
Zhang, who only joined the paid ranks nine days ago, defeated Jennifer Kupcho on the second hole of a play-off after the pair had finished tied on nine under par at Liberty National Golf Club.
Kupcho set the clubhouse target after a closing 69 and Zhang needed to par the 18th to win in regulation, but found a bunker off the tee and was unable to get up and down from short of the green.
The 20-year-old American is the first player to win on the LPGA Tour in their professional debut since Beverly Hanson in 1951.
“What is happening? I just can’t believe it,” said Zhang after two putts for par on the second play-off hole were enough to beat Kupcho.
“It was just last week when I won NCAAs with my teammates. To turn pro and come out here, it’s just been amazing.”
Zhang confirmed she will be taking membership on the LPGA Tour which comes with the victory – after finishing her finals at Stanford and moving next week.
“I understand there is going to be a lot of bumps in the road and I’m expecting a lot of obstacles,” she said. “But I think this is just the start. This is just a stepping stone.
“It’s crazy that this is my first win, first professional win already, but no doubt there is going to be a lot more things happening down the road.
“I’m just going to be continuing to learn inside the ropes.”
Zhang spent a record 141 weeks at the top of the women’s amateur rankings, surpassing the previous best of 135 set by Ireland’s Leona Maguire.
She became the first women’s player to win two NCAA individual titles following her successful title defence at the end of May, a victory which saw her exceed the number of wins Tiger Woods achieved at Stanford.
Zhang also won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April and the US Women’s Amateur two years ago, as well as helping the United States to Curtis Cup wins over Great Britain and Ireland in 2021 and 2022.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Lucas Glover edges past Patrick Cantlay to claim back-to-back Tour wins
Glover, 43, ultimately claimed victory with a par on the 18th hole playoff after Cantlay found water off the tee.
Lilia Vu wins second major as Charley Hull comes up short despite stunning eagle
American Vu added the Women’s Open title to her Chevron Championship.
Lucas Glover holds onto lead in Memphis with Tommy Fleetwood two strokes behind
Glover said it was a scrappy day but he got ‘a lot out of’ what he had.
Charley Hull shares lead with Lilia Vu heading into final day of Women’s Open
The pair are nine under for the tournament.
On This Day in 2007 – Tiger Woods claims 13th major with victory in Oklahoma
The world number one successfully defended his US PGA Championship title.
Ally Ewing out to emulate Brian Harman with Open win
The pair share their southern roots, passion for hunting and college teams named the Bulldogs.
Ally Ewing storms clear during second round of AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath
At 10 under par Ewing enjoyed a five-shot lead over compatriot Andrea Lee and Japan’s Minami Katsu.
Jordan Spieth leads by one after first round of FedEx St Jude Championship
England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Aaron Rai are the best of the British contingent, closing out Thursday on four under par.
Rory McIlroy delighted with Tiger Woods’ role on PGA Tour’s policy board
Woods, 47, has not played since withdrawing from April’s Masters and concedes his playing opportunities will be extremely limited going forward.