Rose Zhang of Irvine simply added to her already impressive resume.
The 17-year-old Zhang, a senior at Pacific Academy who recently signed a letter-of-intent with Stanford, claimed a four-stroke victory over Cindy Kou of Whittier to successfully defend her title in the Girls Division of the 43rd Rolex Tournament of Champions at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
David Ford of Peachtree Corners, Ga., captured the Boys Division title.
Zhang became the first back-to-back winner in the Girls Division since Beth Bauer in 1994-95 in the tournament that was contested over the Champion and Fazio courses at PGA National and is overseen by the American Junior Golf Association.
“I didn’t want to force anything out on the course, since if you do that in golf there’s bound to be mistakes,” said Zhang, who was tied for the lead with Kou after nine holes in the final round before pulling away with five birdies on the back nine. “I just tried to play as solid as possible and whenever I had a birdie chance I tried to convert it.”
Zhang was awarded the 2020 Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top women’s amateur after winning the 2020 U.S. Women Amateur Championship. She also won the AJGA Ping Invitational and the Rolex Junior Girls Championship this year.
Leading virtually from wire-to-wire, Zhang posted a score of 70-67-69-66—272, while Kou finished at 73-67-69-67—276, while Madison Hewlett of Oldsmar, Fla., shot 74-68-74-66—282 to tie for third with Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J., who finished at 75-68-70-69—282.
Lucie Malchirand of France totaled 74-71-72-67—284 to tie for fifth with Alex Pano of Lake Worth, Fla., who wound up at 75-71-69-69—284, while Hyo Joo Jang of South Korea finished seventh at 72-72-74-67—285.
Amanda Sambach of Davidson, S.C., was eighth at 73-69-74-70—286, followed by Izzy M. Pellot of Altamonte Springs, Fla., at 73-71-75-68—287, Bailey Shoemaker of West Edmeston, N.Y., at 77-67-74-71—289, and Amari Avery of Riverside at 79-68-71-72—290.
In the Boys Division, Ford carded a winning score of 69-65-62-68—264, 22-under, followed by Bruce Murphy of Johns Creek, Ga., at 65-74-64-68—271, Sean-Karl Dobson of Austin, Texas, at 68-73-66-65—272, and Gordon Sargent of Birmingham, Ala., at 71-69-66-67—273.
Ford also won the AJGA Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and the AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield.
William Love of Atlanta was fifth at 67-70-68-70—275, followed by Scotty Kennon of Bradenton, Fla., at 70-73-67-67—277, and Luke Sample of New York City at 72-71-68-67—278.
Preston Summerhays of Scottsdale, Ariz., shot 73-68-71-67—279 to tie for eighth with Caleb Surratt of Indian Trail, N.C., who finished at 70-73-68-68—279, and Thomas Morrison of Dallas, who wound up at 68-71-69-71—279.
Former champions Rolex TOC champions include Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Webb Simpson, Charles Howell III, Bob May, Harrison Frazar, Dudley Hart, Brendon Todd, Jamie Lovemark, Sam Burns, Inbee Park, Morgan Pressel, Heather Farr, Grace Park, Kris Tschetter, Kellee Booth, Leta Lindley, Erica Blasberg, Jaye Marie Green, Alison Lee, Patty Tavatanakit, Andrea Lee and Luci Li.
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