CHEVY CHASE, Md. (AP) — Rose Zhang won the U.S. Girls’ Junior on Saturday at Columbia Country Club, beating local favorite Bailey Davis 6 and 4 in the 36-hole final to become the eighth player to win both the junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The 18-year-old Zhang won the amateur 11 months ago at Woodmont Country Club, only eight miles away in Rockville. She’s the only of the eight to win the amateur before the junior.
“To be able to win in such a grueling week, it’s truly amazing,” said Zhang, the top-ranked amateur in the world. “In USGA events, you really need your ‘A’ game in terms of your patience, your grit and your golf game.”
Zhang, the rising Stanford freshman from Irvine, California, is the first qualifying medalist to win since Ariya Jutanugarn in 2011. After delay of 3 hours, 15 minutes because of dangerous weather, Zhang finished off Davis with a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-4 32nd after hitting the flagstick with her approach.
“I’m really proud of the commitment and work that I put in over the past year,” Zhang said. “I’ve gotten more experienced, both in how I play and how I handle myself. And after last year, it was a really special week getting to see people cheering us on.”
The 18-year-old Davis, from White Plains, was trying to become the first Black player to win a women’s USGA title.
“This entire week has been unbelievable,” Davis said. “Based on the response from social media, I think I have touched a few girls this week. I’m going to try to respond to as many people as I can.”
The three-time Maryland high school state champion will be a freshman at Tennessee.
Zhang earned spots in the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles and the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Both finalists are exempt into the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Westchester Country Club next month.