Rose Zhang of Irvine, California joins an impressive list of the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Junior Player of the Year award recipients: Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn and Inbee Park.
Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, the Rolex Junior All-America Teams annually recognize the world’s premier junior golfers. The 2019 teams honor 96 junior golfers, 48 boys and 48 girls, ages 14-19, from 25 states and eight countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela. These young men and women distinguished themselves through outstanding play in 135 national junior golf events, 120 of which were conducted by the AJGA. The teams were determined exclusively through the Rolex AJGA Rankings as of October 15.
In 2019, the 16-year-old Stanford verbal commit never finished outside the top three in AJGA play to end the season No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
The high school junior opened the season with a third-place finish at the ANA Junior Inspiration, finished tied for runner-up at the Thunderbird International Junior and defended her title at the Swinging Skirts AJGA Invitational. With the win – her seventh national junior golf title among events recognized by the Rolex AJGA Rankings – she will compete again on an LPGA exemption at this week’s Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA presented by CTBC
“The Rolex Junior Player of the Year award means the world to me,” Zhang said. “It is the highest achievement in junior golf, and I will feel extremely lucky to see my name next to some of the best in the game. I’ve played against amazing junior golfers from the United States and from around the world, and this award makes me extremely motivated to continue to play well and set goals.”
Zhang was nearly flawless in match play in 2019 with a quarterfinal finish at the U.S. Girls’ Junior and scoring to help the United States PING Junior Solheim Cup to another team championship. Zhang played on both the 2017 and 2019 USA squads, contributing to the Americans’ fifth and sixth consecutive victories. She is ranked among the top in the world as an amateur as well as a junior – No. 23 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings – and with her 2019 selection, earned a third consecutive berth on the AJGA’s Rolex Junior All-America first team, and her fourth overall honor.
Zhang’s 2019 highlights:
· Four-time Rolex Junior All-American, three consecutive years on the first team
· Defended her title at the 2019 Swinging Skirts AJGA Invitational and will play on the coinciding LPGA exemption in October
· Never finished outside the top three in AJGA tournaments in 2019 – tied for runner-up at the Thunderbird International Junior at third at the ANA Junior Inspiration
· Seven career national junior golf victories
· Quarterfinalist at the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship
· Helped the PING Junior Solheim Cup United States team win its fifth and sixth straight team championships – in 2019, in Scotland
· Finished eighth in the Pan American Games in Peru
· Won the Toyota Junior World Cup
· Competed in the U.S. Women’s Open and Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship