Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Rose Zhang 'super blessed' for Solheim Cup experience

Field Level Media
21 Sep 2023, 02:19 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports)

Rose Zhang has already compiled a lengthy list of accomplishments at just 20 years old.

Two-time NCAA champion, Stanford's all-time wins leader and No. 1-ranked amateur and LPGA Tour winner are among them.

What Zhang wasn't anticipating was a spot on the United States Solheim Cup team as a rookie. However, that became almost a certainty after Zhang was given a sponsors invite into the Mizuho Americas Open in June and went on to become the first player since 1951 to win in her LPGA debut.

Three months later, Zhang is in Spain for the first time in her life as part of captain Stacy Lewis' 12-woman team that will take on Team Europe in this week's Solheim Cup.

"A hundred percent not," Zhang said Wednesday when asked if she thought making this year's team was possible. "I think when I played Mizuho, it was only with the intentions of starting off my career and playing the best I could, trying to make the cut. Obviously the results turned out differently and I've been super grateful for all the experiences that I've gained thus far on tour.

"Being in the Solheim Cup this year was certainly not one of the goals in mind, but the fact that it happened, I'm just super blessed to be alongside players that I've grown up watching and playing alongside them representing the red, white, and blue."

Ahead of just her 10th event as a professional, Zhang has already added LPGA Tour winner and Solheim Cup player to her rapidly growing resume.

"It's so hard to rank every single one of the accomplishments," she said. "I feel like every experience that I've gained has been so unique in its own right. This is definitely up there. Being able to play the Solheim Cup is truly a dream come true."

How many matches Zhang plays this week is one of the storylines yet to unfold.

She is one of four rookies on the U.S. team, which has far less experience than its counterpart. While the Americans average 25.83 years old and have a combined 24-26-3 Solheim Cup record, the Europeans average 28.25 years and sport a combined 62-43-13 Cup record.

Europe is also the two-time defending Solheim Cup champion as it seeks a three-peat on home soil at Finca Cortesin in Andalucia.

After following the Mizuho win with three top-10s in her next four events, including at a trio of majors, Zhang has struggled by her lofty standards. She has not finished better than T31 in her past four starts, including a missed cut at the Portland Classic.

Zhang said she is not concerned about how many of the Fourball and Foursome sessions she's playing in ahead of the 12 Sunday singles matches.

"Whatever my place, whatever I should do is for the team. Regardless of how much I'm playing, I'm going to be fighting out there every single event or every single match that I participate in," she said. "So, no hard feelings there. I feel like I love being on the sidelines cheering for my teammates, if that's what I'm going to do.

"That's basically what being part of a team is."

--Field Level Media

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