By Sofia Scekic
Multiple Stanford sports teams signed their newest group of commits to National Letters of Intent last week, including both the men’s and women’s golf teams. While the defending National Champion men’s team only added one player, the women’s team signed three to compete for the Cardinal next season.
Rose Zhang, Caroline Sturdza and Yu Wen Lu are joining the Cardinal women’s golf team next year, head coach Anne Walker announced last Wednesday on National Letter of Intent Day. After Albane Valenzuela and Andrea Lee left the Farm early last year to turn pro, the three standouts will be a welcome addition to a team that already includes two All-Americans in Aline Krauter and Angelina Ye.
Zhang, who hails from Irvine, California, is the top-ranked amateur in the world according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) and won the 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur. She was also named the Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 2019 and 2020 as well as the Curtis Cup Player of the Year for Southern California each year from 2017 to 2020. Walker told GoStanford, “[Zhang] will arrive at Stanford next fall with her eyes on the team record books and the opportunity to etch her name into Stanford Golf history as an individual and also, as a team player” and said “it will be a special time for Stanford Women’s Golf” when Zhang competes for the Cardinal.
Sturdza, a native of Geneva, Switzerland like Valenzuela, is also ranked in the top-250 of the WAGR, most recently coming in at No. 239. She scored an eighth place finish at the 2020 European Ladies’ Amateur Championship, won the Swiss National Interclubs A1 twice and finished first in the 2018 Swiss National Junior Interclubs tournament. Walker said her personality is “upbeat, positive and bubbly” and noted that she will be a “terrific teammate and contributor” to the Cardinal.
The Shanghai, China native Lu is ranked No. 773 in the WAGR and has four Top-20 finishes in the 2020 season to complement seven total Top-10 finishes in her golf career so far. Walker called her an “extremely patient, committed, and hardworking student and golfer” with a “positive and never quit attitude.”
The Cardinal only added one athlete, Alex Yang, to the mix for next season. The Hong Kong native played golf for Laurel Spring School in Ojai, California and is currently ranked No. 283 in the men’s WAGR. Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings also has him coming in at No. 190 in their current rankings.
His 2018 season was highlighted by an AJGA Rolex First-Team All-American selection, after he earned co-medalist honors at the US Amateur Qualifier at Hacienda, two more top-three finishes at the Ping Invitational and the Junior PGA Championships, and a top-15 finish at the Dogwood Invitational.
In 2019, he earned an AJGA honorable mention All-American selection after three top-four finishes at the Gobbler Amateur, Polo Junior Golf Classic and the Northwest Open Invitational, where he finished with low amateur honors. He was also a member of the Team USA squad that won the Junior Presidents Cup and competed with the West Team at the Wyndham Cup.
In 2020, he participated in the 2020 Western Amateur and was a Sweet 16 participant after a seventh place finish in stroke play. He also tied for 13th at the Hong Kong Open on the 2020 Asian Tour and won the low amateur competition in that tournament.
Head coach Conrad Ray said Wang “brings a wealth of experience and success in both competitive junior and amateur golf around the globe…we believe he is only going to get better. He is a student of the game and a great fit for our program.”