Rose Chang, the world’s No. 1 amateur golfer and two-time NCAA champion, turns pro

In a long-awaited move, two-time NCAA women’s golf champion and longtime world No. 1 amateur, Rose Chang, announced Friday that she is turning pro.

The Stanford sophomore will make his debut at the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club next week. Zhang, who turned 20 on Wednesday, announced her transition on Instagram. She will hold a press conference next Tuesday in Jersey City, NJ, according to her agent, Kevin Hopkins, of Excel Sports Management.

Zhang’s pro debut will be one of the most anticipated in women’s professional golf history. Zhang made it to the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open as a 16-year-old, won the 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship, and finished 11th at the 2020 ANA Inspiration, an LPGA. She could have gone pro at that time, but she chose to enroll at Stanford University. While most expected her to only play one season of collegiate golf, she instead spent two years with the Cardinals.

Those two seasons produced a historic run. Zhang has won 12 of the 20 college championships, winning at an unprecedented rate. She broke the Tiger Woods school record for total wins while playing six fewer tournaments. She also matches Lorena Ochoa for the most wins in Pac-12 women’s golf history.

Zhang won the 2022 and 2023 Women’s Individual National Championships and led Stanford to the 2022 National Team title. She has also won the U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Junior Girls, and Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Finally, Zhang has been ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking since September 2020, which is a record.

How good is Chang?

The accolades are too many to list, but of all of them, perhaps the most disconcerting feat of Chang’s achievement is her college track record.

As a freshman, the 18-year-old set the NCAA single-season record with a 69.68 in 31 innings played.

Then, as a sophomore, she broke that record, solving nearly one stroke more total (0.98) than her previous total, and setting a new mark of 68.70 in 27 innings.

In total, 50 of Zhang’s 58 innings finished as a collegiate at par or better. Fired 31 rounds in the 60’s. In addition to her 12 wins, she recorded six other Top 10 finishes.

It has long been speculated that while playing as an amateur, Zhang mainly translated into the top 15 or top 20 players in the world. There is no exact measure of it, but Zhang is expected to immediately compete in the professional ranks.

Her coaches often say that it is not one area of ​​Zhang’s game that stands out most—driving, hitting, and the short game—but rather, all of its parts and decision-making.

What impact has Zhang had on women’s professional golf?

Having previously signed significant name, image and likeness deals while in college, Zhang will be entering the pro ranks with a huge sponsorship already. She has seven-figure deals with Callaway, Adidas, and others.

Zhang’s career has always been a magnet for golf enthusiasts. You will get noticed early and are often professional.

This summer, she’s expected to play in all five majors and, if all goes as planned, use a series of tournament waivers to secure her LPGA Tour card.

After Mizuho Americas, over the next two months, Zhang will play at the US Women’s Open in Pebble Beach (June 22-25), the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Baltusrol (July 6-9), the Dana Open (July 13-16) and the Evian (July 27-30).

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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