When Rose Zhang looks back on 2023, she’ll probably have a hard time selecting a best moment – victory on her LPGA Tour debut, a message of congratulations from Tiger Woods, or will it be a first appearance at the Solheim Cup?
Then there was that rather impressive Augusta National Women's Amateur title and back-to-back NCAA D1 titles, all of which make 2023 incredibly special.
Now Solheim Cup qualification is on following her stunning win at the Mizuho Americas Open, where she became the first player to win on her LPGA professional debut since Beverly Hanson in 1951.
And not only did the rising star do it in front her of friend and mentor, Michelle Wie West, the 20-year-old soon found herself getting a big pat on the back from 15-time Major winner, Woods.
Zhang, who has been on two winning Curtis Cup teams, showed all the qualities that will be needed to succeed in the pressure cooker environment of a Solheim Cup, especially down the stretch and in the playoff against Jennifer Kupcho.
The official Twitter account for the Team USA Solheim Cup team wasted no time in making everyone aware of what Zhang’s victory meant – she's eligible to make the team.
Congratulations to Rose on making history! 👏With her win, Rose is now eligible for Solheim Cup participation! 🌹🇺🇸 https://t.co/ro5X0sl9DHJune 5, 2023
And although she’ll no doubt have to cope with an increase in expectations going forward, the former world number one amateur sounds like she’s ready to embrace whatever the future holds.
"I understand there is going to be a lot of bumps in the road and I'm expecting a lot of obstacles," she said. "But I think this is just the start. This is just a stepping stone.
"It's crazy that this is my first win, first professional win already, but no doubt there is going to be a lot more things happening down the road.
"I'm just going to be continuing to learn inside the ropes."
The 2023 Solheim Cup takes on September 22-24 at Finca Cortesin in the heart of the Costa del Sol in Andalucía, Spain.
Suzann Pettersen’s European team go in as defending champions, with Stacy Lewis’ USA side looking to win away from home for the first time since 2015.