© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rose Zhang is the 1st golfer in 72 years to win LGPA event in same week as pro debut


A bolt of energy. That is how some people in the golf world are describing 20-year-old golfer Rose Zhang, who became the first player in 72 years to win the week of making their professional debut on the LPGA tour.


UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER: In her first start as a professional, she wins the Mizuho Americas Open.



With views of Lower Manhattan in the background, Zhang was greeted on the 18th green in Jersey City with a bouquet of red roses to commemorate the moment. The golfing prodigy is used to winning, but she faced a lot of pressure to succeed. Beth Ann Nichols, senior writer for Golfweek, says that makes this moment even more special.

BETH ANN NICHOLS: I don't think there's a weakness in her game. I think every area of her game is strong. I think mentally is probably where she sets herself apart in that she has such a great perspective on the game at such a young age.

KELLY: Zhang was the top-ranked women's amateur for 141 weeks. She's won just about every major tournament in women's amateur golf.

SHAPIRO: Just last week she captured her second consecutive NCAA national championship as a 20-year-old sophomore at Stanford. And now Nichols says the world is her oyster.

NICHOLS: The LPGA doesn't have a household name in America. There are plenty of household names overseas. It's not like a Serena, right (laughter)? So I think that Rose, you know, could be that player, which - obviously it feels like we're keeping a lot of expectation on her and for good reason. But the LPGA sorely needs that.

KELLY: Golf Twitter was on fire when Zeng putted out for the win. And she even got a shoutout from another high-performing Stanford alum who is used to setting lofty achievements in the game. Tiger Woods congratulated Zhang on her, quote, "incredible few weeks." With an LPGA tour win in the bag, Zhang does not have to worry about qualifying for events. She gained an automatic membership with the victory.

SHAPIRO: But she won't be at this week's tour stop. Beth Ann Nichols says Zhang still has some unfinished business back home in California.

NICHOLS: She still has three final exams to go. And, you know, she's got to move out of her dorm. She's going to continue to take classes and finish her degree at Stanford. But I think that will be a good escape for her mentally to have something else to focus on and to have a bit of normalcy.

KELLY: Well, and here's hoping that success on tour continues to be part of Rose Zhang's new normal. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Gus Contreras
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Justine Kenin
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.