Rose Zhang Wins PING Invitational by 1

Rose Zhang of Irvine simply continued her brilliant year.

The 17-year-old Zhang, a senior at Pacific Academy in Irvine who has committed to Stanford, posted a bogey-free, 5-under-par 67 in the final round to edge Michelle Zhang of China and Plano, Texas, in the Girls Division of the 14th PING Invitational at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

Rose Zhang, who earlier this year captured the 120th United States Women’s Amateur Championship and the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, recently was awarded the 2020 Mark McCormack Medal as the best women’s amateur golfer in the world.

Starting the final round four strokes behind, Rose Zhang shot 33-34 in the final round to post a score of score of 70-75-67—212, 4-under-par, while Michelle Zhang, who finished at 72-70-71—213, held the lead before making a triple bogey on the 17th hole and came up one short after a closing birdie.

“At Karsten Creek, obviously you have to have a really patient game,” said Rose Zhang, who also tied for 11th in the LPGA Tour’s 2020 ANA Inspiration. “You have to be prepared on every single hole, and every single shot. My mindset going into each round and each shot was really good, and it really helped me stay steady and patient on the course.

“It’s such a great honor. I’ve heard that Jordan Spieth was the only other two-time champion of this event, and to be the first female player to do that is such an honor. I’m just so excited to see where my game will take me.”

Rose Zhang won the PING title two years ago and basically repeated because the tournament was canceled last year. As Zhang said, she joined Spieth as the only player to win either division of tournament twice in its 14-year history.

Second-round leader Lynn Lim of Gallatin, Texas, shot 72-69-75—216 to tie for third with Catherine Rao of Camarillo, who finished at 69-73-74—216, while Kyung Eun Lee of Honolulu, Hawaii, totaled at 71-76-72—219 to tie for fifth with Grace Summerhays of Scottsdale, Ariz., who wound up at 72-74-73—219.

Cindy Kou of China and Whittier was seventh at 74-76-70—220, followed by Paris Hilinski of Los Angeles at 71-76-74—221, while Kiara Romero of San Jose shot 77-75-70—222 to tie for ninth with Frances Kim of Rolling Hills Estates, who came in at 71-73-78—222.

Kelly Chinn of Great Falls, Va., claimed the Boys Division at 70-70-71—211, followed by Gordon Sargent of Birmingham, Ala., at 71-73-70—214, while Caleb Surratt of Indian Trail, N.C., shot 76-78-65—219 to tie for third with David Ford of Peachtree Corners, Ga., who finished at 72-73-74—219.

Wells Williams of West Point, Miss., was fifth at 77-74-69—220, while Brendan Valdes of Orlando, Fla., totaled 73-76-72—221 to tie for sixth with Jonas Appel of Encinitas, who wound up at 73-74-74—221.

Luke Potter of Encinitas was eighth at 71-78-73—222, followed by Preston Summerhays of Scottsdale, Ariz., at 78-76-69—223, and Benjamin James of Milford, Conn., at 74-74-76—224.

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