In her first week as a pro, Chinese American golfer Rose Zhang won the 2023 Mizuho Americas Open, becoming the first professional golfer in 72 years to win a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) event in her pro debut.
Making history: Zhang, a two-time National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) champion, claimed the Mizuho Americas Open championship title on Sunday, earning her a $412,500 prize and an automatic LPGA Tour membership.
The 20-year-old from Stanford, who is now eligible for the Solheim Cup in September, is the first woman to win as a pro in her debut since Beverly Hanson in 1951.
The competition: Zhang beat Jennifer Kupcho, 26, in a two-hole playoff with a par on No. 18 at Liberty National, finishing at 9-under 279. While Kupcho came up short with her first putt going over the green and the second putt missing, Zhang was left with two easy putts for the win.
“I just can’t believe it,” Zhang said. “It was just last week when I won NCAAs with my teammates, and to turn pro and come out here, it’s just been amazing. I’ve enjoyed the journey.”
Background: Zhang holds the record for the most weeks — 141 weeks — as the top-ranked women’s amateur golfer in the world. She has won every major competition, including the U.S. Women’s Amateur, the U.S. Junior Girls, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the NCAAs. Last week, she announced her decision to turn professional after a historic career at Stanford.
“I really got a bit of everything,” she said of her historic LPGA win, according to Golf. “Got a taste of pressure, got a taste of the wind, and I tried to stay composed as always. I knew that golf was just a grind and you really had to dig deep. Once again, that’s what I did.”