Rose Zhang is playing in her first team event as a professional golfer. She will tee it up this weekend with Team USA at the Solheim Cup in Andalucia, Spain.
It has been quite the year for the 20-year-old phenom. She became Stanford’s all-time wins leader surpassing Tiger Woods’ mark, was the No. 1 ranked amateur and won back-to-back NCAA individual titles.
Zhang also came out on top in her LPGA debut, becoming the first woman since 1954 to do so.
While the rookie LPGA star may have only been on tour for three short months, it was enough for her to earn one of the Solheim Cup qualifying spots.
“It’s so hard to rank every single one of the accomplishments,” she said on Wednesday ahead of the Solheim Cup. “I feel like every experience that I’ve gained has been so unique in its own right. This is definitely up there. Being able to play the Solheim Cup is truly a dream come true.”
She hasn’t had 10 starts yet in her LPGA career. So, she wasn’t expecting that to earn her a spot on this team.
“I think when I played Mizuho, it was only with the intentions of starting off my career and playing the best I could, trying to make the cut,” Zhang said. “Obviously, the results turned out differently, and I’ve been super grateful for all the experiences that I’ve gained thus far on tour.”
“Being in the Solheim Cup this year was certainly not one of the goals in mind, but the fact that it happened, I’m just super blessed to be alongside players that I’ve grown up watching and playing alongside them representing the red, white, and blue.”
She won’t play in Friday morning’s foursome matches, but that doesn’t mean she won’t play that afternoon. How many matches Zhang will play altogether is still unknown.
The rookie isn’t concerned about her sessions, though. Zhang is just ready to do what is asked of her to help her team.
“Regardless of how much I’m playing, I’m going to be fighting out there every single event or every single match that I participate in,” Zhang said. “So, no hard feelings there. I feel like I love being on the sidelines, cheering for my teammates if that’s what I’m going to do. That’s basically what being part of a team is.”
Zhang is one of four rookies on Team USA. Their average age is 25, while the Europeans’ age average is 28. Team USA has a combined 24-26-3 record, which looks rather sad next to the Europeans’ 62-43-13 record, hence the Americans are the underdogs.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.