JERSEY CITY, N.J.— Rose Zhang captured the inaugural Mizuho Americas Open title in a two-hole sudden-death playoff on Sunday, delivering one of the most historic moments in the sport while becoming the first player to win her LPGA debut since Beverly Hanson in 1951.
In a battle of former NCAA and Augusta champions, Zhang defeated fellow American Jennifer Kupcho in a two-hole sudden-death playoff. Zhang finished her first tournament at 279 overall (-9), carding rounds of 70-69-66-74.
Zhang earned automatic tour membership with the victory, becoming the fourth sponsor invite to win on the LPGA Tour since 2003 and first since Lydia Ko in 2013.
Zhang has produced countless memorable moments throughout her career, with Sunday's milestone all the more significant considering the former Cardinal standout played her final collegiate match on May 23 and turned pro three days later following two dynamic seasons (2022-23) on The Farm.
Zhang, who plans to remain enrolled at Stanford and continue pursuing her degree in communication while training at the world-class Siebel Varsity Golf Training complex, produced arguably the most decorated amateur career in the history of collegiate golf.
One of four finalists for the Class of 2023 Honda Sport Award for Golf, Zhang is bidding to repeat after claiming the award in 2022. The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 47 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports and signifies "the best of the best in collegiate athletics".
A two-time Pac-12 Golfer of the Year, Zhang joined UCLA's Bronte Law (2015-16) as the only repeat winner and one of three two-time recipients overall. However, Zhang's resume of wins, awards and scoring records stands out in comparison to her predecessors.
In just 20 collegiate events over her two seasons, Zhang delivered a school-record 12 victories, matching Arizona's Lorena Ochoa (2001-03) for the most in conference women's golf history. Only Arizona State's Phil Mickelson finished with more, claiming 16 titles from 1988-92.
As a sophomore in 2023, Zhang won a staggering 8-of-10 events, becoming only the fourth woman to sweep through the postseason with record-setting Pac-12 and NCAA Regional crowns and an unprecedented NCAA title defense. Zhang's eight single-season wins tied her for the most in women's collegiate golf history and matched Tiger Woods (1995-96) for the most in school history.
A two-time NCAA individual champion — the first female to accomplish the feat — Zhang twice set the NCAA single-season scoring average record, with a 68.81 sophomore-season scoring average besting a 69.68 freshman average. A two-time First Team WGCA All-American, Zhang also established the NCAA career scoring average record with a 69.24 average in 62 career rounds.
In addition to finishing her career as a two-time ANNIKA Award recipient, Zhang was also a two-time WGCA Golfer of the Year, becoming the first repeat honoree since Duke's Amanda Blumenherst in 2008.
Back on April 19, Zhang reached 136 consecutive weeks as the world's leading female amateur golfer, surpassing the previous record of 135 set by Leona Maguire of the Republic of Ireland in 2018. Zhang also captured the 2023 Augusta National Women's Amateur, defeating Georgia's Jenny Bae on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. Zhang also won the U.S. Girls Junior and U.S. Women's Amateur in her illustrious amateur career.