Rose Zhang had a dream start to her pro career by winning her first event at the Mizuho Americas Open.
Zhang, who joined the paid ranks just nine days ago, defeated Jennifer Kupcho on the second hole of a playoff after the pair tied nine under par at Liberty National Golf Club.
Kupcho set the clubhouse goal after a finishing 69 and Zhang had to save on the 18th to win in regulation time but found a bunker off the tee and was unable to get up and down just before the green.
The 20-year-old American is the first player since Beverly Hanson in 1951 to win on his pro debut on the LPGA Tour.
“What’s going on? I just can’t believe it,” Zhang said after two par putts on the second playoff hole were enough to beat Kupcho.
“It was just last week when I won NCAAs with my teammates. It was just great to turn pro and get out of here.”
Zhang confirmed she will accept membership on the LPGA Tour, which comes with the win – after completing her finals at Stanford and moving next week.
“I understand there will be a lot of bumps in the road and I anticipate a lot of obstacles,” she said. “But I think that’s just the beginning. This is just a stepping stone.
“It’s crazy that this is my first win, already my first professional win, but no doubt there’s a lot more to come in the future.
“I’ll just keep learning.”
Zhang spent a record 141 weeks at the top of the women’s amateur rankings, surpassing the previous best of 135 weeks set by Ireland’s Leona Maguire.
After successfully defending her title in late May, she became the first player to win two NCAA singles titles. That surpassed the number of wins Tiger Woods had at Stanford.
Zhang also won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April and the US Women’s Amateur two years ago, helping the United States to Curtis Cup victories over Britain and Ireland in 2021 and 2022.