Skip to content

Rose Zhang’s chip from off the putting surface on the 17th at Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Rose Zhang wasn’t thinking about Gary Woodland’s shot on the 17thth at Pebble Beach when she faced a similar chip shot from off the putting surface on the front right portion of the green. While Woodlands’ gutsy second shot that won him the 2019 US Open was 93 feet from the hole, Zhang’s near chip-in came from 53 feet. She nestled it to a foot and saved a couple.

“Oh wow, dude, that’s crazy,” said Zhang as her agent showed her the video after the round.

While Zhang had practiced chipping off the putting surface plenty of times back at Stanford’s practice facility, she’d never tried it in competition.

“I definitely knew right was not a place to miss,” said Zhang. “Once I saw where my ball was, I couldn’t even think about even putting it. So it was a really good shot. It was a bit risky, but I felt like that was the shot of the day.”

Zhang’s opening 74 puts her six behind leaders Xiyu Lin and Hyo Joo Kim. Her biggest blemish of the day came on the par-4 eighth hole, where she lost the ball right in the cliffs and made a double.

The betting favorite coming into the week, Zhang enjoyed sizable crowds on the front nine that included her mom and older brother. While her father watches every shot, Zhang’s mother rarely comes out and her older brother, Bill, watched her play in person for the first time on Thursday.

“He doesn’t play golf,” said Zhang of her brother. “He thinks it’s too slow-paced for him. He’s – yeah, I don’t think he’s ever found an interest in watching me. He has watched me on TV though, so at least he’s cheering me on. At least I know he’s supporting me.”

It’s already been a week of firsts for Zhang. On Monday, after she hit a shot into the iconic par-3 seventh, her tee landed in her back pocket. No one standing on the tee had a clue what had happened until Callaway later posted a video of the shot and fans took note.

The moment quickly went viral. Zhang called it “unintended sorcery.”

“That’s a video that I’ll save forever,” she said. “I don’t think I can ever do that again.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek