Rose Zhang was honored as the most outstanding female NCAA DI college player on Tuesday, winning the Annika Award for the second-straight season.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after Zhang successfully defended her 2022 NCAA individual title to go back-to-back, becoming the first woman to win multiple individual titles.
Zhang, who is the top-ranked amateur in the world, has 12 wins in 20 starts over two seasons with the Stanford Cardinal. Her 12th win makes her the winningest Stanford golfer, male or female, in school history. She surpassed Tiger Woods, Maverick McNealy and Patrick Rodgers for the honor.
“It doesn’t get better than winning the Annika Award,” Zhang said when receiving the award. “Her resume and everything she does for the game of golf is incredible. Definitely one of the best role models in my career. To do so again, even though it’s not on the forefront of my mind, it’s something that’s a byproduct of everything I’ve done this year.
“For me, I went out (this year) on the golf course with a completely different mindset,” continued Zhang. “Starting in the fall season and talking with coach (Anne) Walker, I had personal goals in mind of just trying to become the best player I could be for the team. Throughout the year, I have just grinded. I’ve had competitions with my teammates, and we are all very driven. So, it has been very good for me to have that competitive mindset and really push myself.”
This is the third-straight year that a Stanford player has won the award (Zhang, ’22; Rachel Heck, ’21). Others to have won include: Natalie Srinivasan (Furman, 2020); Maria Fassi (Arkansas, 2018-19); Leona Maguire (Duke, 2015, 2017); Bronte Law (UCLA, 2016) and Alison Lee (2014).
“Rose has had one of the best careers in the history of college golf, male or female, culminating this week with capturing back-to-back NCAA individual championships,” said Annika, who won the 1991 NCAA individual championship at the University of Arizona as a Freshman. “I’ve watched her play at our foundation tournaments and these past two years at Stanford. She has such a bright future ahead of her. Golf is in good hands with players like Rose. It validates what we do in celebrating these wonderful young women both on and off the golf course.”
There’s no rest for Zhang after her individual win, though, with the NCAA women’s team title to be decided Wednesday — the same day Zhang turns 20. Her Stanford Cardinal is in the mix as the team tries to go back-to-back.