Each week seems to bring a new milestone for Rose Zhang, the LPGA rookie who has taken the golf world by storm this summer.
First, Zhang captured the 2023 NCAA individual title. She then moved on to a victory in her first LPGA event as a pro, the Mizuho Americas Open. After that came three top-10 finishes in her first three majors.
But this week? The milestone came in the form of an international border.
“I’m so excited. This is the first time I’ve been here in Canada,” Zhang said in advance of the CPKC Women’s Open at Shaughnessy Golf Club & Country Club in Vancouver. “That says a lot because I’m from Southern California and there’s a lot of Canadians over there, especially in the winter when they’re practicing.
“So now that I’m here, it’s beautiful. Weather is amazing. Golf course is in top-tier shape. So really excited to see some crowds out there and just have fun.”
And as she’s seemed to do with ease, Zhang had more fun Thursday during the event’s opening round. After a sluggish start, the phenom rolled to a 33 on her second nine in some trying conditions, finishing the day with a 69 and a spot in second place behind leader Yuka Saso.
— LPGA (@LPGA) August 24, 2023
Considering that two of her last three events were her worst in her half-dozen on tour, Zhang was happy to battle through and put herself in prime position.
“I’m feeling really good. From the start I had some errant tee shots, and it’s something that you can’t really afford on this golf course since it’s so narrow,” she said. “I was able to have some lucky bounces, lucky outs, and I capitalized on that. So really glad how the day went. Just keep it going the next couple days.”
She had an advantageous morning tee time on Thursday, but will go off in the afternoon Friday and she knows that could be a gamechanger of sorts. Still she’s been equal to the task nearly each week in her short tenure on the LPGA. Despite missing the cut at one of her six events, the Dana Open, Zhang has already eclipsed the $1 million mark in earnings this season.
She said she’ll be ready for whatever Friday throws at her.
“You can never be too comfortable, especially on this golf course. Every day the conditions are going to be changing,” she said. “I know the wind picks up in the afternoon, so tomorrow’s tee time I’m going to be aware of that and just keep doing what I’m doing and prepare for that.”