June 3, 2023
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
Liberty National Golf Club
Q. All right, here with Rose Zhang, our clubhouse leader at the moment as the third round comes to an end here at the Mizuho Americas Open.
Rose, what a day for you. No bogeys on the card; a string of birdies. What did you learn the last couple days about this course that helped you play it so well today?
ROSE ZHANG: It's been great. Today was pretty much what I expected. The golf course was playing a little more difficult, especially with the winds gusting up a little bit more and it's in a different direction.
So there was nothing that I didn't anticipate when I went out here, and Jason and I, we just did a great job getting our numbers in. I was just committed to every single golf shot that I hit today, so I think all that allowed me to shoot the best score that I could.
Q. Well, probably be playing in the lead group tomorrow. I know you've been in those situations before just having such a successful amateur career. How much do you like being in that position?
ROSE ZHANG: I think it's just great to be in that position. It just shows that leading up the last three days you've been doing a great job at playing your best on the golf course.
And I think that for me, I've been in this position before, but I haven't been in this position as a professional, since this is my first week, so I'm really just learning everything that I could.
Tomorrow I'll be just trying to figure out what it feels like to be in the final group, navigate my way through, and I'm sure by the end of the day I'll be able to, you know, just build my character more.
Q. 16, just walk us through that hole. A little disappointed on the eagle putt, but still made an birdie there and that was a heck of a drive.
ROSE ZHANG: Thank you. Yeah, I had 253 from the tee and the wind was right to left a little bit. I have a natural draw to my driver, so when Gilly and I were thinking about what club to hit I was in the mindset of I can go for it.
I felt very comfortable with that golf shot. I knew the ball was going to go away from the water no matter what I do. The only miss that you potentially have is left, and it's not a great miss.
You know, I just figured out, hit a little high, small cut or the feeling of it, and then see where the ball goes from there. I just had the confidence just to full send it and it went well.
Q. Has got to be a dream start to your professional career. Did you ever expect anything like this looking ahead to this moment in your golf career?
ROSE ZHANG: Definitely not. I was expecting myself to scramble into the cut. That was the first priority for me.
But I've been enjoying every moment. I feel like the weekend is something that I've been -- I've experienced before but as an amateur, so obviously it is a little different.
I've just been trying to take it all in, figure out what to do inside the ropes, rather than just, you know, be blindsided.
Q. What have you learned about yourself through 54 holes this week?
ROSE ZHANG: So far I've been pretty proud of how I've been able to stay composed. You know, prior to this week and last couple weeks there has been a lot of golf, a lot of media, so I'm really proud of the way that I'm just sticking to my game plan and allowing myself to let things happen when I'm on the golf course.
Q. Talking about that composure, to all the fans you look like a seasoned professional with how you're holding yourself; very poised. What are you feeling on the inside in those big moments?
ROSE ZHANG: Yeah, I still think I'm human so I do feel little small butterflies here and there. I've been pretty comfortable when I've been on the golf course. I've been able to tap into my zone and I've just been trying to think about how this is the sport that I've been playing for the last ten or so years.
I'm just doing what I need to do and going back to what my body knows.
Q. And during those longer wait times in between shots, was it harder to stay in the moment?
ROSE ZHANG: Yeah. Definitely I feel like professional golf is a little slower than what college golf and amateur golf is just because everyone's not really scrambling as much and you've got caddies talking you through a lot of shots.
So I did, you know, have long wait times on the tee, but I have been able to talk to my caddie, Gilly, and it's just been a fun time.
Q. All the support that's been surrounding you from all the media attention and all the fans following, what does that mean to you knowing this is just your first pro week?
ROSE ZHANG: It's incredible. I was talking to my caddie in between shots, but just seeing everyone supporting me and everyone's reactions to some of my good shots, I just think it's so funny.
But I'm really honored, really blessed to have such great support. I have a couple family friends out here watching me and obviously some close people I grew up with.
So it's just been really special.
Q. I have one final one: Playing alongside AJGA girls this week, I know you mentioned a lot of them are your friends.
ROSE ZHANG: Yes.
Q. You hung out with them during the delay. How has that helped with your comfort level this week, having familiar people around?
ROSE ZHANG: 100%. I feel like it's allowed me to transition a little bit better into the professional tour. Especially this week, seeing the girls that I played with since I was a junior back in 2021 when I graduated. Even in rain delays, weather delays, I was out there and just having a good time with a couple of the friends I made before.
We've just been talking about random things, so I think that their support and them being there has allowed me to really kind of settle in and know that I have a bunch of people around me that I've grown up with before.
Fastscripts by ASAP Sports...
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports