JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Two-time NCAA champion Rose Zhang became the first LPGA Tour winner in her pro debut in 72 years, capturing the Mizuho Americas Open with a par on the second hole in a playoff against Jennifer Kupcho on Sunday.
The last female player to win as a pro in her debut was Beverly Hanson, who edged Babe Zaharias to take the Eastern Open in 1951.
Zhang shot a 2-over 74 in the final round and squandered a chance to win the event on the 72nd when she missed an 8-foot par saver after making at least a half dozen clutch saves in a gritty final round performance.
The much-heralded 20-year-old from Stanford made a nearly identical 8-footer on No. 18 at Liberty National on the first playoff hole. Kupcho, who won an NCAA title at Wake Forest in 2018 and had a final round 69, also made a par.
Both players hit the fairway on No. 18 on the second playoff hole, but Zhang hit her approach from the fairway within 10 feet. Kupcho was short on her approach, her first putt went just over the back edge of the green and her second putt just missed. That left Zhang with a two-putt par to win.