Former Stanford star Rose Zhang leads alone after third round of Mizuho Americas Open debut

JERSEY CITY, NJ - JUNE 03: Rose Zhang of the United States tees off on the first hole during the third round of the LPGA Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club on June 3, 2023 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rose Zhang looks like the real deal. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rose Zhang, arguably the best female amateur golfer in history, looks pretty good as a professional through three rounds.

The 20-year-old Stanford product finished Saturday as the sole seed of the Mizuho Americas Open, in which she makes her LPGA Tour debut. She currently sits at 11 under for the tournament after shooting a 66, two shots ahead of the trio of Aditi Ashok, Atthaya Thitikul and Cheyenne Knight.

One of Zhang’s six birdies came on the par-3 14th hole, his tee shot setting up an easy putt to catch Knight atop the leaderboard.

Zhang’s hit of the day may have been when she drove the green on the par-4 16th hole for a very doable eagle putt. She narrowly missed, settling for a birdie and the only lead.

That kind of performance was all fans could have hoped for after Zhang turned pro last month. Her resume so far included being the first woman to win back-to-back NCAA titles, twice setting the single-season scoring record and making the cut in all three majors she played in. ‘last year. Comparisons to Tiger Woods are frequent for Zhang as a historic amateur at Stanford, and she is even more successful in college, winning 12 of 20 college tournaments played compared to 11 of 26 for Woods.

Zhang was ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings for a record 141 consecutive weeks, starting in September 2020 and ending last month.

This week’s tournament is just the start for Zhang, who is expected to play in the four remaining majors this year with the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 22-25), US Women’s Open (July 6-9), the Amundi Evian Championship (July 27-30) and AIG Women’s Open (August 10-13).

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