Rising Golfer Rose Zhang’s Journey to Olympic Contention: A Story of Determination and Success

A year ago at this time, Rose Zhang was ranked 456th in the world, having played only six notable pro tournaments in the past two years.

On Monday, the 20-year-old Zhang, who turned pro last May but still attends Stanford classes, reached a career-high No. 6 in the Rolex Rankings.

The surge of Zhang came after her second LPGA Tour win at the Cognizant Founders Cup on Sunday, knocking her off from the 22nd spot in the rankings.

Zhang’s rise has also put her in contention for the upcoming Paris Olympics in this heat.

“I haven’t really thought too much about it, but I definitely know that I’m close to making it into the Olympic field this year,” she said. “I think part of the pressure I put on myself to play well in the early events of this season was because I didn’t want to miss out on the Olympics. I’ve been watching it since I was 5.”

Following the conclusion of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on June 23, the top 60 players in the Rolex Rankings will be ready for the Olympic field.

Leading the American contingent for that date are Nelly Korda, who won four consecutive tournaments in March and April (and five total), looking to defend her Olympic title.

Next are Americans Lexi Thompson (No. 2 overall), who won two major titles in 2023, Zhang, and Megan Khang (No. 15).

Despite missing four consecutive LPGA programs from January to March while taking Stanford classes, Zhang has climbed in the rankings.

She could become the youngest American golfer in the Olympics since 1904. Golf got back to the Olympics in 2016 without precedent for 112 years.

There could still be fluctuations in the rankings before the Olympic cutoff, with five more LPGA and LPJ events featuring the US Women’s Open and Women’s PGA Championship.

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