Rose Zhang of Irvine has been named winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the leading female player in the 2020 World Amateur Golf Ranking by the United States Golf Association and the R&A of St. Andrews, Scotland.
The 17-year-old Zhang, who is a senior at Pacific Academy in Irvine and has committed to Stanford, this year captured the 120th United States Women’s Amateur at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., and the Rolex Girls Junior Championship at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo., after the end of the shutdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“To win the McCormack Medal and join a list of such prestigious winners is such an incredible accomplishment and blessing,” said Zhang, who edged Yu-Chiang Hou of Taiwan for the award.
“Over the past couple months, I’ve really persevered to better myself in all aspects of my golf game and physical condition. Receiving this award is continued validation that hard work pays off and it motivates me to continue this journey. It re-ignites my passion and love for this amazing sport.”
Zhang bounced back from a wrist injury and made her way through the field at the U.S. Women’s Amateur before beating Gabriela Ruffels of Australia and USC with a par on the second playoff hole of the scheduled 36-hole final when Ruffels’ three-foot par putt lipped out.
Two weeks later, Zhang set the course record with an opening 64 at Dalhousie on her way to winning the Rolex Girls Junior Championship by six strokes.
In addition, Zhang earned low-amateur honors last month at the ANA Inspiration on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, finishing in a tie for 11th in the major championship against the best professionals in the world.
Zhang’s total of 280 was the lowest 72-hole score ever in the ANA by an amateur, beating the previous best of 281 set by Caroline Keggi in 1988 and equalled by Michelle Wie in 2004.
The result moved Zhang ahead of Hou in the WAGR standings for the first time this year, and she became the third American to win the women’s McCormack Medal, following Jennifer Kupcho in 2018 and Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach and Stanford last year.
Other winners of the award include Lydia Ko of New Zealand (2011-12-13), Minjee Lee of Australia (2014), and Leona Maguire of Ireland (2015-16-17).
Zhang has claimed 11 amateur victories in the last five years, including the Toyota Junior World Cup, the Swinging Skirts AJGA Invitational and Rolex Tournament of Champions in 2019; the ANA Junior Inspiration, the Swinging Skirts AJGA Invitational and The PING Invitational in 2018; the Junior PGA Championship and Junior America’s Cup in 2017, and the AJGA-CJGT Junior at Yorba Linda in 2016.
In addition, Zhang has represented the United States in the Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles and the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, and was named 2019 Girls Rolex Junior Player of the Year by the American Junior Golf Association.
The R&A and the USGA award the McCormack Medal annually. It is named for Mark H. McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
The Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of about 2,000 events, which include more than 3,375 ranked players from 78 countries.