By Julie Williams | November 30, 2020
Rose Zhang just keeps adding titles to her 2020 collection. The 17-year-old defended her AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions crown on Nov. 28, winning the season finale on the AJGA calendar. Zhang has now won three AJGA invitational titles – the TOC joins her Rolex Girls Junior and Ping Invitational triumphs. Those go along with her U.S. Women’s Amateur crown as well as a third-place finish at this year’s ANNIKA Invitational.
Zhang was named the AJGA’s Rolex Player of the Year for the second year in a row. She is also the top-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Zhang, an Irvine, California, resident who is committed to play for Stanford next fall, led by three shots entering the final round of the event at PGA National in Pam Beach Gardens, Florida, after opening rounds of 70-67-69. She started the final round calmly enough with four pars and made her first birdie on the par-3 fifth hole. Zhang pieced together five birdies on the back for a closing 66.
Remarkably, Zhang only had two bogeys in 72 holes and didn’t make another one after the sixth hole of her second round.
Zhang finished ahead of fellow Class of 2021 player Xin (Cindy) Kou, who was four back at 12 under. Madison Hewlett, who also had a closing 66, and Megha Ganne tied for third at 6 under.
In the boys division of the Tournament of Champions, David Ford capped his 2020 in a similarly fitting way. The North Carolina commit from Peachtree Corners, Georgia, made the Tournament of Champions his third AJGA invitational title of the year after winning the AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield in June – the first event of the AJGA restart – and following that with the Junior Players Championship title two months later.
Interestingly, all three of Ford’s AJGA Invitational victories came at venues that host PGA Tour tournaments. Ford, No. 2 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings, entered the final round at PGA National with a seven-shot lead. He only had one bogey in a closing round of 68 and at 22 under for 72 holes, finished seven ahead of Bruce Murphy of Johns Creek, Georgia.
Sean-Karl Dobson of Austin, Texas, was third. Ford’s twin brother Maxwell finished T-26.