Beth Ann Nichols – May 18, 2023
It’s Rose Zhang appreciation week in Scottsdale, Arizona. Before she even tees it up in competition at the NCAA Championship, Zhang’s sophomore season at Stanford has been nothing short of mind-blowing. Calling it a special season doesn’t seem strong enough.
And, of course, she’s not done. There’s a chance to sweep the postseason and win her second NCAA title at Grayhawk Golf Club, putting a bow on one of the most dominate seasons in the history of college golf.
The action begins on Friday with the first of four stroke-play rounds. The field will be cut from 30 to 15 after Sunday’s round, and the individual national champion will be crowned on Monday. The top eight teams through four rounds of stroke play will advance to match play, with the championship match taking place on Wednesday.
Here are five things to appreciate about Zhang’s record-breaking amateur career:
Season winning percentage
Zhang’s winning percentage is off-the-charts impressive this season. She’s hoisted a trophy seven times in nine starts. Seven wins is a school record for a single season. Victories this season:
Therese Hession Regional Challenge
Juli Inkster Invitational
NCAA Pullman Regional
Zhang is on pace to best her own NCAA scoring record of 69.68. She currently boasts a 68.70 average through 27 rounds. Her career scoring average (through 58 events) is 69.22, better than Lorena Ochoa’s NCAA record (60 rounds) of 70.85.
Career winning percentage
Zhang has 11 wins in 19 career starts, tying a Stanford record for the men’s and women’s programs. Three other Cardinal won 11 times prior to Zhang: Tiger Woods (26 events), Patrick Rodgers (35 events) and Maverick McNealy (45 events).
She wins the big ones
Rose Zhang celebrates on the 10th green, the second playoff hole, after defeating Jenny Bae of the United States to win during the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur at Augusta National Golf Club on April 01, 2023 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Zhang isn’t merely a prolific winner, she wins the heavyweights, too. She’s the only woman to triumph at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, U.S. Women’s Amateur, NCAA Championship and Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Weeks at No. 1
Last month, Zhang broke the record for most weeks as the No. 1 golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, surpassing Leona Maguire’s record of 135 total weeks. She’d previously bested Lydia Ko’s record of 130 consecutive weeks in the top spot. Zhang first became No. 1 in the world back in September 2020.