Rose Zhang hopes to see plenty of newcomers to golf at this year’s AIG Women’s Open.
After a record-breaking amateur career, Zhang has wasted no time in making a huge impact on the LPGA Tour.
The 20-year-old American sensationally won on her professional debut at the Mizuho Americas Open in June, before recording top-10 finishes in each of her first three major starts as a pro, at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, US Women's Open and Amundi Evian Championship.
Arguably the brightest young star in golf, Zhang is sure to command plenty of attention at Walton Heath as she makes her third AIG Women’s Open appearance and first as a professional.
This year’s Championship will see world-class golf complemented by an enhanced fan experience – including a festival fan village and headline music concert by Ellie Goulding – and Zhang is excited by the prospect of a younger audience being drawn to the most international major in women’s golf.
“It will be really fun to go out there and see new people bringing their kids out,” Zhang told AIGWomensOpen.com.
“It’s just a fun time to bring everyone together and introduce people to the sport.
“Just getting into golf, I feel like a lot of people when they get into new sports, there’s an intimidation factor, right, because of maybe how athletic one is or how difficult something will be. But I feel like golf is such an open space for everyone to enjoy themselves, at all levels.
“You can be a professional player, but you can play with someone who’s shooting in the 100s. There’s no division in there. Everything is an equal platform and as long as everyone enjoys the sport and has fun, I think that’s what the golfing world is all about.
“I think for all the women, all the young kids that want to come into golf, you get to meet new people and you get to put yourself out there.
“I think there is a lot of innovation that can happen with everyone entering the sport and I just want to serve as someone who can potentially bring more people into the game and just spread more awareness of the women’s game.
“And I know now is such a great time for female sports and there’s so many respected athletes who are trying their best to bring forth more exposure to the game, so I think it’s a cool time to see that.”
Zhang was around nine years old when she first picked up one of her dad’s golf clubs and it did not take long for her to become hooked.
“I was very athletic as a kid, so I tried every sport,” she explained. “I ultimately just fell in love with the game.
“I’m very naturally competitive but I think for me to test my abilities against myself and just keep practicing individually, it really intrigued me and I loved whacking golf balls, so I just kept doing it. And I’m still doing it!”
“I just want to serve as someone who can potentially bring more people into the game and just spread more awareness of the women’s game.” Rose Zhang
Zhang won the Smyth Salver for the best amateur performance at last year’s AIG Women’s Open. As she prepares to return to the Championship as a professional, having been granted a special exemption by The R&A prior to her stunning LPGA debut win, her first target is simply to make the cut and play all four rounds.
“I think playing weekends at major championships is so amazing, such a cool experience,” she added.
“When I’m at the AIG I feel like I will definitely be trying to prepare myself for the weather and the difficulty of the golf course, but these venues are all so special and the fact that I can travel to these places is something that I’m very blessed to have.”
Click here to buy tickets for the 2023 AIG Women's Open and see Rose Zhang in action at Walton Heath.