Record-breaking amateur Rose Zhang turns pro, receives AIG Women's Open exemption
Rose Zhang has been given a special exemption for the AIG Women's Open after the world number one amateur announced her decision to turn professional. The 20-year-old American, who was the leading amateur at Muirfield last year, spent a record 141 weeks at the top of the amateur rankings, surpassing the previous best of 135 set by Ireland's Leona Maguire. Zhang also became the first women's player to win two NCAA individual titles following her successful title defence earlier this week, a victory which saw her exceed the number of wins Tiger Woods achieved at Stanford. She also won the Augusta National Women's Amateur in April and the US Women's Amateur two years ago, as well as helping the United States to Curtis Cup wins over Great Britain and Ireland in 2021 and 2022. "I am honoured to have received a special exemption for the AIG Women's Open at Walton Heath," Zhang said. "I would like to thank The R&A for providing me with this incredible opportunity at the very beginning of my professional career and I hope to make the most of it. "The AIG Women's Open is a championship I would love to win one day and if that were to be at Walton Heath it would be very special." R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: "Rose Zhang is an incredibly talented golfer who has already written her name into the history books as an amateur golfer. "It is very rare that we grant a special exemption for the AIG Women's Open but we believe that Rose's exceptional achievements to date warrant her inclusion in the field at Walton Heath." The AIG Women's Open takes place at Walton Heath from August 10-13.
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