Rose Zhang of Stanford has been named winner of the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel, which goes to the most outstanding female NCAA Division I college golfer of the season, for the second straight year.
The 19-year-old Zhang, a sophomore from Irvine, claimed record-tying eight college titles this season, including a repeat in the NCAA Individual Championship earlier this week, in addition capturing the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
The ANNIKA Award is named for legendary Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, who played college golf at Arizona.
“It doesn’t get better than winning the ANNIKA Award,” said Zhang while accepting the award from Sorenstam. “Her resume and everything she does for the game of golf is incredible. Definitely one of the best role models in my career. To do so again, even though it’s not on the forefront of my mind, it’s something that’s a byproduct of everything I’ve done this year.
“For me, I went out (this year) on the golf course with a completely different mindset. Starting in the fall season and talking with Coach (Anne) Walker, I had personal goals in mind of just trying to become the best player I could be for the team. Throughout the year, I have just grinded. I’ve had competitions with my teammates, and we are all very driven. So, it has been very good for me to have that competitive mindset and really push myself.”
By winning eight times during the 2022-23 season, Zhang tied Mexican great Lorena Ochoa of Arizona (2001-02) and Renee Heiken of Illinois (1992-93) for most victories titles in a season in women’s college golf history.
Zhang’s eight victories also tied Tiger Woods’ Stanford record, which he set in 1995-96, as he also claimed the NCAA Championship when he was a sophomore.
“Rose has had one of the best careers in the history of college golf, male or female, culminating this week with capturing back-to-back NCAA individual championships,” said Sorenstam, who won the 1991 NCAA individual championship as a freshman at Arizona.
“I’ve watched her play at our foundation tournaments and these past two years at Stanford. She has such a bright future ahead of her. Golf is in good hands with players like Rose. It validates what we do in celebrating these wonderful young women both on and off the golf course.”
Zhang also claimed the 12th victory of her Stanford career by winning the NCAA Championship, breaking a tie for the school record she shared at 11 with Woods, Maverick McNealy and Patrick Rodgers.
The top-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Golfstat and Golfweek college rankings, Zhang received an exemption to compete in the 2024 Amundi Evian Championship, one of the LPGA Tour’s five major championships along with the award.
Zhang became the third straight player from Stanford to claim the ANNIKA Award, joining Rachel Heck (2021), and joined Maria Fassi of Arkansas (2018 and 2019) and Leona Maguire of (2015 and 2017) as the only two-time winners of the award.