Rose Zhang birdied the final hole to capture the ANA Junior Inspiration by one stroke over Ashley Menne of Surprise, Ariz., at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.
Zhang, a 14-year-old from Irvine, earned a spot in the ANA Inspiration, the first LPGA Tour major of the year, which begins Thursday at Rancho Mirage. She jumped into Poppie’s Pond along with LPGA Hall of Famer Patty Sheehan after her victory.
“It’s extremely surreal,” said Zhang (pictured left), who will be playing in her first LPGA Tour event. “I never expected myself to be in this position. “It’s something that I used to only dream of. Playing on the same course as the LPGA pros … it’s an extreme honor.
“It was a no-brainer that I wanted to jump in the pond. I mean, it is tradition (for the winner of the ANA Inspiration). It wasn’t a bad jump, but it wasn’t a good jump.”
Zhang, who won the 2017 Girls Junior PGA Championship, carded a score of 71-69-69—209, 7-under-par, followed by Menne at 69-68-73—210, Yujeong Son of South Korea at 70-68-73—211, Amari Avery of Riverside at 70-73- 69— 212 and Rachel Heck of Memphis, Tenn., at 68-72-75—215.
Erica Shepherd of Greenwood, Ind., shot 70-75-72—217 to tie for sixth with Suzuka Yamaguchi of Japan at 73-72-72—217, while defending champion Luci Lu of Redwood Shores was eighth at 70-73-75—218, followed by Angelina Ye of China at 79-70-70—219 and Yuka Saso of the Philippines at 70-75-75—220.
For complete results, visit https://www.ajga.org/microsite/index.asp?tn=2018011#GolfGenius.