Rose Zhang of the United States of America has won the Mark H McCormack Medal as the leading women’s player in the 2020 World Amateur Golf Ranking® / WAGR®.
The McCormack Medal winner receives exemptions into the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie and the US Women’s Open at The Olympic Club in 2021.
Zhang, 17, pipped Yu-Chiang Hou as the number one player in the WAGR® thanks to a run of excellent results following the return to golf this year, which has been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American recovered from a pre-championship wrist injury to go on to win the US Women’s Amateur Championship at Woodmont Country Club in August after defeating defending champion Gabi Ruffels after two extra holes in the second-longest match in the championship’s history.
Two weeks later, she emerged victorious in the Rolex Girls Junior Championship at Dalhousie Golf Club, Missouri, setting a course record with a first round 64 on the way to a winning 15-under-par total of 273, six shots ahead of the chasing pack.
Zhang earned the low amateur award in the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club last month after finishing in a tie for 11th place at the women’s major championship. Her final total of 280 was the lowest 72-hole score ever by an amateur, beating the previous best set by Caroline Keggi in 1988 and Michelle Wie in 2004.
The result moved Zhang ahead of Hou in the WAGR® standings for the first time this year and she becomes the third consecutive American winner of the Women’s McCormack Medal following Jennifer Kupcho (2018) and Andrea Lee (2019).
In 2019, she won the Toyota Junior World Cup, Swinging Skirts AJGA Invitational and Rolex Tournament of Champions and represented the United States of America in the Junior Solheim Cup at Gleneagles and the Pan-American Games.
Rose Zhang, said, “To win the McCormack Medal and join a list of such prestigious winners is such an incredible accomplishment and blessing. Over the past couple months, I’ve really persevered to better myself in all aspects of my golf game and physical condition. Receiving this award is continued validation that hard work pays off and it motivates me to continue this journey. It reignites my passion and love for this amazing sport.”
The R&A and the USGA co-award the McCormack Medal annually. It is named after Mark H McCormack, who founded sports marketing company IMG and was a great supporter of amateur golf.
Professor Steve Otto, Chief Technology Officer at The R&A, said, “We would like to congratulate Rose on this tremendous achievement which is the culmination of a hugely impressive run of results that includes winning the US Women’s Amateur Championship in August. Her performances show that she is a worthy winner of the McCormack Medal and we will continue to follow her career with great interest. We look forward to welcoming her to Carnoustie for the AIG Women’s Open next year.”
John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships, said, “On behalf of our entire organisation, we want to congratulate Rose for earning this prestigious honour. Her victory this summer at the US Women's Amateur represents one of the most exciting finishes in championship history, and we were treated all week to the poise, fortitude, and talent that Rose brings to championship golf. Coupled with her play over the last year, it's no surprise she has put herself in position for this award. We can't wait to see where her career goes from here."
The World Amateur Golf Ranking, which is supported by Rolex, was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The men’s ranking encompasses more than 2,800 counting events, ranking 6,777 players from 106 countries. The women’s ranking was launched in 2011 and has a calendar of around 2,000 counting events with more than 3,375 ranked players from 78 countries.