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Rose Zhang moves into Paris Olympic golf qualifying position

A year ago at this time, Rose Zhang was ranked No. 456 in the world, having played just six countable pro tournaments over the previous two years while still an amateur.

On Monday, Zhang, a 20-year-old who turned pro last May but still takes Stanford classes, reached a career-high No. 6 in the Rolex Rankings.

The bump came after her second LPGA Tour win at the Cognizant Founders Cup on Sunday, which vaulted her from No. 22 in the rankings.

Zhang’s rise also catapulted her into the projected field for the Paris Olympics this summer.

“I haven’t really thought about it too much, but I definitely knew that this year I was on the cusp of entering Olympic territory,” she said. “I think, in the first couple of events coming out (this season), I put a lot of pressure on myself to be able to play well. Partially the reason is because I didn’t want to miss out on the Olympics. I’ve been watching it since I was 5 years old.”

The Olympic field of 60 players will be drawn from the Rolex Rankings after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship ends June 23.

The top four Americans on that date make the team, should they also be ranked in the top 15 overall.

Top-ranked Nelly Korda, who won four consecutive events in March and April (and five consecutive starts overall), is in line to defend her Olympic title.

The next Americans are Lilia Vu (No. 2 overall), who won two majors in 2023, Zhang and Megan Khang (No. 15).

Zhang climbed the rankings despite skipping four consecutive LPGA events from January to March while taking Stanford classes.

She can become the youngest American golfer at an Olympics since 1904. Golf returned to the Olympics in 2016 for the first time in 112 years.

The rankings can still fluctuate with five more LPGA Tour events before the Olympic cutoff, including two majors in the U.S. Women’s Open and the Women’s PGA.

The 2024 U.S. Olympic team roster of athletes updated as they qualify.