Rose Zhang sealed the Smyth Salver at the AIG Women’s Open in impressive fashion, with a one-over total of 285 in challenging conditions at Muirfield.
A final round of 73 completed a fine week’s work for Zhang, who showed why she has enjoyed a lengthy stint at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
The 19-year-old American, who made her AIG Women’s Open debut at Carnoustie 12 months ago, was already virtually assured of the Smyth Salver after becoming the only amateur to make the cut on Friday.
Rounds of 72 and 70 were followed by another one-under 70 in Saturday’s third-round, lifting Zhang inside the top 30 and securing an eye-catching final-day pairing with 2018 AIG Women’s Open Champion Georgia Hall.
Zhang made an outstanding start, with a superb bunker shot on the first followed by an approach shot that hit the pin at the second and set up a birdie.
A bogey at the downwind par-5 fifth represented a disappointment, but Zhang remained in high spirits as she reached the turn in 36.
Three dropped shots followed on the back nine as the winds once again strengthened, before Zhang bounced back in style, birdieing the 16th and 17th to return to level-par.
She was unable to convert a 10-footer for par on the final hole, but Zhang could still be enormously proud of her efforts.
Zhang succeeds Louise Duncan as the winner of the Smyth Salver and also joins the likes of Hall, Michelle Wie, Anna Nordqvist, Danielle Kang, Lydia Ko, Leona Maguire and Atthaya Thitikul in earning the honour.