Rose Zhang repeats, Kelly Chinn thrives at AJGA PING Inv.
Kelly Chinn (L) & Rose Zhang
Kelly Chinn (L) & Rose Zhang

U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, Rose Zhang (Irvine, California) continues to dominate just about everything she plays in.

The 2020 champ, who also won the AJGA Rolex girls junior, set a record as the amateur scoring record at the ANA Inspiration (8-under, 280), and was named the McCormack Medal as the top amateur golfer per WAGR continued her outstanding run with a win at Oklahoma State’s Karsten Creek Golf Club.

Not only did she win the PING Invitational, but she became the first female to win the event multiple times and joined Jordan Spieth as the only two-time winner of the event in its 14-year history.

Beginning the beautiful and calm winded Oklahoma day four shots back of overnight leader Lynn Lim (Gallatin, Tennessee), Zhang sprang from seemingly out of nowhere.

If there is anything to be learned about Zhang from this week, it’s that if you give her enough time, she will find a way to attack a golf course. Carding frontside scores of 37 and 40 through the first two days, Zhang got to work with a three-under, bogey-free 33 on Monday. Fairing better on the back nine at Karsten Creek all week, Zhang posted the median of her three back nine scores with a bogey-free 34.

The class of 2021 Stanford commit vaulted herself up the leaderboard with a final round 5-under 67, surpassing Lim who could not hold on to the play that got her to the top of the leaderboard through 36 holes with a final round 75.

China’s Yunxuan (Michelle) Zhang, playing out of Plano, Texas, had an opportunity to surpass Rose as she was two groups behind playing in the final group. Six under par for the tournament through No. 11, Michelle made bogey on the par-4 12th and tripled the par-4 17th before capping her round off with a birdie on No. 18. The triple bogey on the penultimate hole proved costly as Michelle finished two strokes behind Rose with a 3-under 213.

In the boys’ division, 36-hole leader and 2021 Duke commit, Kelly Chinn (Great Falls, Virginia) continued his tale of two halves week at Karsten Creek. Finding much more comfort heading back to the clubhouse, Chinn played the back nine at eight under par.

The front nine, however, is a much different story. Even par through the frontside after two rounds of play, Chinn was one-over through six on Monday. Carding a double bogey on the par-3 7th and a bogey on the par-4 8th, Chinn closed out the 45 holes of play with a birdie on the par-5 9th for a 3-over 39 (one over for the tournament).

Then, the fireworks started. Following a par and bogey to begin the back nine, Chinn tallied four consecutive birdies on hole Nos. 12-15 before making a bogey on the par-4 16th to get back to even on the day. Holding a one-shot advantage over Vanderbilt commit Gordon Sargent (Birmingham, Alabama), Chinn put the championship out of reach with back to back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to claim the PING Invitational with a 5-under, 211 total.

As the stars of tomorrow graced Karsten Creek for the PING Invitational, there was a strong (future) Big 12 presence, with 10 Big 12 verbal commits participating. Here is how it breaks down:

Baylor: Zach Heffernan (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas; 2021) T-14, +10; Jonas Appel (Encinitas, California; 2022) T-6, +6)

Oklahoma: Andrew Goodman (Norman, Oklahoma; 2021) 25th, +16; Jase Summy (Keller, Texas; 2022) WD; Megan Winans (Richardson, Texas; 2021) 32nd, +24) Winans sister, Libby shot an 8-under 64 and set the course record Sunday at the Betsy Rawls Invitational en route to helping the Sooner women set a school-record 18 under par to finish third as a team.

Oklahoma State: Jordan Wilson (Edmond, Oklahoma; 2021) T-34, +24; Gaven Lane (Argyle, Texas; 2023) T-26, +17)

Texas: Tommy Morrison (Dallas, Texas; 2023) T-18, +12; Keaton Vo (Austin, Texas; 2022) T-11, +9; Bohyun Park (South Korea/Farmers Branch, Texas; 2021) T-15, +10

View results for The PING Invitational Junior

ABOUT THE The PING Invitational Junior

One of the AJGA series of tournaments that require an invitation to participate. Format is 54 holes of stroke play.

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