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

Stanford star and the top-ranked women’s amateur Rose Zhang is officially turning pro.

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

"The endless love, support and inspiration from so many people brought me to this point of my golf career," Zheng wrote, in part. "From my teammates to my coaches and trainers, to my friends and my family – you have all been integral in my journey, shaping me as a person and player while making sacrifices for my success. You have made it possible for 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 that in mind, while I am pursuing my professional career, I will continue to earn my degree in the years to come. Stanford fam forever.

"I appreciate everyone who continues to believe and support in me as I will be embarking on this new chapter in my life. With faith in God's plan, I'm stoked for what's to come."

Rose was quickly given an exemption to compete in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in July by the USGA on Friday. She was also given an exemption into the AIG Women’s Open in Surrey, England in August.

The Irvine, California, native is perhaps the best amateur women’s golfer in history. Zhang won the McCormack Medal — an award given to the top amateur player in the world by the R&A — three times and won the Annika Award — which is given to the top collegiate women’s player — twice. She set the NCAA’s single-season scoring record twice, getting it down to 68.81 during her sophomore season, and held a 69.42 average in 62 rounds.

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

She also won back-to-back individual NCAA titles — making her the first woman to ever do so at the Division-I level — and led the Cardinal to a national team title last year. Zhang won 12 of the 20 college tournaments she played in, including eight of the 10 she played in this past season, and matched the Pac-12 women’s golf wins record. Tiger Woods only won 11 times in his 26 starts while playing at Stanford.

Zhang has been ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking for a record 141 consecutive weeks dating back to September 2020.

"It's cliche 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 has led our team with class both on and off the golf course every day for two years. She's broken every record, won every championship and taken our team to the top of college golf. I'm quite certain I'll never coach anyone quite like Rose again — she's a generational player. Everyone at Stanford is better for having been around Rose and we are so glad she will be a Cardinal for Life."

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