Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

Rose Zhang admits she is still learning on the job after a strong start to her major debut as a professional at the Women’s PGA Championship.

Zhang, who won her maiden LPGA Tour title on her first pro start last month, trails surprise South African leader Lee-Ann Pace after a one-under-par opening round 70 at Baltusrol in New Jersey.

Canadian star Brooke Henderson and Chinese duo Xiyu Lin and Ruoing Yin are a shot off the lead at four-under, with Thailand’s Wichanee Meechai a further shot adrift after a three-under 68.

• Sergio Garcia heads Asian Tour event in Scotland

• Donald speaks out on LIV golfers at Ryder Cup

Irishwoman Leona Maguire is also well placed three shots off the lead with confidence sky-high after her epic final round 64 to win the LPGA Classic last week.

But all eyes on Thursday were on the 20-year-old prodigy Zhang, who is looking to create more history after her stunning start to her pro career with victory at the Mizuho Americas Open earlier this month.

Zhang was priced as short as 14/1 before the event despite her inexperience, but lived up to expectations, closing with a fine birdie on 18 to recover from going two-over through her first four holes.

“Every single day I feel like as a professional now, I’m learning so much,” she said.” I’m just really trying to learn how it is inside the ropes, how players operate.

I was playing with Lexi (Thompson) and Minjee (Lee), and these are people that I’ve watched on TV since I was younger. Just understanding how they do things and how they operate, I’m just learning along as I go.

“Nothing that I didn’t expect. I knew when you’re going to be out here, it’s going to be very difficult, and you’re going to have to try to claw your way back when things aren’t going your way.”

She added: “I think I’m very satisfied with how the score turned out. It took a couple bumps in between to get there.

“I feel like my putting was a little bit off the entire way, but I also put myself in positions where I was giving myself 60-footers probably four or five holes in a row.

“I feel like this is just a tough golf course, and I really had to grind it out there.”

World number 193 Pace said she “honestly did not expect to be leading” on a “very difficult” Baltusrol layout that tests all aspect of your game.

And Solheim Cup star Maguire was pleased with her ability to tame the iconic course with a gritty, risk-averse approach.

“I think our first few holes played really tough into the wind that bit of rain and everything, so it was just a case of trying to level par through them, and gave myself a couple of chances after that, which was nice,” Maguire said.

“I hit every fairway and nearly every green, which in a major championship is as stress-free as you can make it.”

Things were not so serene for Charley Hull and Georgia Hall, however. The English duo both struggled to eight-over 79s and have an uphill challenge to make the cut in the second women’s major of 2023.

author headshot

Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses