Rose Zhang of Irvine, California, repeats as the top female junior golfer in the world with the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Junior Player of the Year award. Kelly Chinn of Great Falls, Virginia, earned the top honor in the Boys Division and joins Zhang on a historical list of Rolex Junior Players of the Year: Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn and Inbee Park.
Zhang becomes the first back-to-back player to receive Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors (2019 and 2020) in the Girls Division since Ariya Jutanugarn in 2011 and 2012. She is the sixth female player to receive the honor in consecutive seasons (Zhang, Jutanugarn, Victoria Tanco, Beth Bauer, Kellee Booth, Vicki Goetze) and eighth girl to add the multiyear accolade to a standout junior golf career (Grace Park and Heather Farr won in non-consecutive seasons).
Chinn becomes the first Virginia native to receive Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors. Both juniors also are honored as first team Rolex Junior All-Americans with this distinction.
The Rolex Junior All-America Teams annually recognize the world’s premier junior golfers. The 2020 class includes 48 boys and 48 girls, ages 14-19, from 26 states and seven countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Portugal, South Korea, and the United States. These young men and women distinguished themselves through exceptional play in 108 national junior golf events, 99 of which were conducted by the AJGA. The teams were determined exclusively through the Rolex AJGA Rankings as of October 14.
Zhang, Chinn, and the 2020 Rolex Junior All-America Teams will be honored virtually through a Rolex Junior All-America Awards celebration on Friday, December 4. “The Greatest Night in Junior Golf” will recognize the accomplishments and celebrate the achievements of the Rolex Junior All-America teams, AJGA Scholastic Junior All-Americans and Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award recipients.
Prior to the digital event, Rolex Junior All-Americans and a field of top players in the Rolex AJGA Rankings will compete at the Rolex Tournament of Champions, November 23-28 at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
In the 2020 season, Zhang added three AJGA Invitational victories to an already impressive junior golf resume. The 17-year-old has not finished outside the top three in AJGA play since 2018. Zhang has compiled nine career AJGA victories, including seven Invitationals. She ended the season where she started, at No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. She has held the position for more than 88 consecutive weeks.
Becoming a Rolex Junior Player of the Year is the greatest honor in junior golf. This award is truly something all talented junior golfers work hard to receive, and I’m extremely thankful to all my competitors who pushed my limit. I feel so thankful to be playing the game of golf, especially in this historic year. With the world experiencing so many difficult situations, having my best year in my golf career is special because I feel grateful to be even participating in events at a time like this.
Days after officially being crowned 2019 Rolex Junior Player of the Year, the high school senior began a repeat campaign by winning the 2020 AJGA season opener at the Rolex Tournament of Champions. She bested the 72-player field by 11 strokes and carded the low-round of the tournament in the Girls Division with a 5-under-par 67 on the Fazio Course.
Zhang continued her solid play in January with a T3 finish at the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex, before golf paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
When Zhang resumed tournament play in August, she won the 120th U.S. Women’s Amateur while recovering from a pre-event wrist injury. She defeated 2019 defending champion Gabriela Ruffels in 38 holes to also mark the second-longest final match in championship history.
Two weeks later, Zhang put together a wire-to-wire performance to win the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, with help from a first-round amateur course record of 8-under-par 64. Zhang rounded out the four-day tournament with four-straight birdies to win her second Invitational of the season. With this victory, Zhang became just the fourth player to hold all three prestigious Rolex titles in the same season: Rolex Junior Player of the Year, Rolex Tournament of Champions and Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
In addition to national junior golf, Zhang also competed in an LPGA major at the ANA Inspiration in September. She broke the amateur scoring record and finished one stroke out of the top 10. Her tournament total of 8-under-par 280 was also the lowest score ever recorded by an amateur in the event. Zhang previously won the AJGA’s ANA Junior Inspiration in 2018.
Zhang’s nearly flawless season ended with dominant play at The PING Invitational at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She found herself in an unfamiliar place, four shots off the lead entering the final 18 holes. She put together a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 that held up for a come-from-behind win. Zhang’s 5-under-par 67 was also the low round of the tournament in the Girls Division. Combined with her win at the 2018 PING Invitational, Zhang joined three-time Rolex Junior All-American and 2009 Rolex Junior Player of the Year Jordan Spieth as the only two-time champion in the event’s 14-year history and the first girl to accomplish the feat.
Cementing herself as one of the best amateur golfers in the world, Zhang is also No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and was honored with the Mark H. McCormack Medal, co-awarded by The R&A and USGA to the world’s leading female amateur golfer. With her 2020 selection, the Stanford verbal commit earned a fourth consecutive berth on the AJGA’s Rolex Junior All-America first team, and her fifth overall honor.
Zhang also represents one of 11 Rolex Junior All-Americans who receive financial assistance through the AJGA’s ACE Grant program, established in 2003. Over the years, more than 2,400 talented junior golfers have turned nearly $4.7 million in junior golf opportunities into $15+ million in college scholarships. The program provides financial assistance, subsidized by private donations including by AJGA professional alumni, who believe all talented junior golfers should have the opportunity to compete for a college golf scholarship, no matter their family’s financial situation.
More than 200 junior golfers in 2020 utilized the program to combat even greater financial challenges.
Without the ACE Grant I wouldn’t be able to play in these prestigious events, get these experiences or become the player I am today. [It] is quite tough sometimes, and there are a lot of junior golfers who have financial hardships. For me, the ACE Grant has relieved such a burden from my parents’ shoulders, and I cannot thank the donors and sponsors enough for their support. It is an honor to be an ACE Grant recipient.
Zhang’s 2020 highlights:
- Five-time Rolex Junior All-American, four consecutive years on first team
- Two-time Rolex Junior Player of the Year (2019, 2020)
- Defended her 2018 title at the 2020 PING Invitational (2019 event was canceled due to weather impact)
- Won, Rolex Girls Junior Championship and set an amateur course record in the first round
- Won the first event of the 2020 season at the Rolex Tournament of Champions
- T11 at the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration with the lowest 72-hole total score ever by an amateur
- Won the 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur in a playoff, the second-longest final match in championship history
- Never finished outside the top three in AJGA tournaments in 2020 – tied for third at the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex
- Nine career AJGA victories
- Honored with the Mark H. McCormack Medal as world’s leading female amateur golfer, co-awarded by The R&A and USGA
- No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings for more than 88 weeks
- No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings
- First Rolex Junior Player of the Year to also be an ACE Grant recipient in 2019
The Langley High School senior and Duke University men’s golf verbal commit earned Rolex Junior All-America first team honors for the first time in 2020, ending the season No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Chinn started the campaign with a 7-under-par 65 in the first round of the 2019 Rolex Tournament of Champions. An even-par second round 71 diminished his lead but he reclaimed the top spot thanks to a bogey-free third round. Chinn went on to win his first AJGA victory by four strokes at 12-under-par 274.
To start the year, my No. 1 goal was to win Rolex Junior Player of the Year. I remember being at the banquet hearing Maxwell Moldovan’s speech and telling my dad ‘I want to be the guy making that speech next year.’ That helped me want to be the best and that mindset helped me work all year toward that goal. It’s a true honor to win this award – I’ve really worked hard for the past year to get my game where it is now, starting off with a win at Rolex Tournament of Champions and to finish with The PING Invitational summarizes how consistent I’ve been. To me, Rolex Junior Players of the Year show performance all year, and I know how tough it can be to maintain that good level of golf. It is truly unbelievable to me to win this award.
At the Jones Cup Junior Invitational in December, Chinn put together a runner-up finish at Sea Island Golf Club to close out the calendar year. He opened with three-straight birdies on the back nine and made four birdies in the second round to sit one stroke from the lead. In the final round, Chinn bounced back from two bogeys with two consecutive birdies to close out the front nine even-par. After a bogey on No. 14, Chinn finished at 3-under-par two strokes short of the victory.
In one of the final events before the competitive golf season was suspended in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinn competed at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. He finished in the top 10, in a five-way tie for sixth at 5-under-par 211.
Chinn had a solo sixth-place finish in the AJGA’s return to play at the AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield held at Sedgefield Country Club’s Donald Ross Course, the site of the PGA TOUR’s oldest regular season event: the Wyndham Championship. He finished the tournament with three of four rounds under par and a final-round 2-under-par 68, despite two bogeys and a double.
Chinn won the 68th Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship with three dominant days of play (with rounds of 65-64-65), good for 16-under-par 194. He finished five shots ahead of the field and broke the tournament scoring record by eight strokes.
At the 2020 U.S. Amateur, Chinn posted two birdies in his last three holes of stroke play to lock up a spot in the middle of the pack going into match play. He was defeated by 2015 Rolex Junior All-American, and the event’s champion, Tyler Strafaci, 4&2 after 16 holes. Chinn also qualified for match play and made it to the Round of 32 at the North & South Amateur.
At The Junior PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass, an event modeled after THE PLAYERS Championship, Chinn shot three rounds of 1-under-par 71. In a back-and-forth closing round, Chinn was in a tight race to win. He carded four birdies and three bogeys to end in a four-way tie for second, two strokes off the champion.
A month later at the Middle Atlantic Amateur Championship, Chinn was the only player from the field to finish under par. Finishing four shots ahead of the field, Chinn won wire-to-wire for a third national junior golf victory.
Rounding out the AJGA season at The PING Invitational, Chinn was again the lone player to post three rounds under par. Despite beginning the final round with a four-stroke lead, Chinn struggled on the front nine. After a bogey on the par-3 No. 11, Chinn flipped the switch to battle head-to-head with three-time Rolex Junior All-American Gordon Sargent – on his way to his own bogey-free round. Chinn posted six birdies in the last seven holes to secure Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors and seal the victory by three strokes.
Chinn’s 2020 highlights:
- Two-time Rolex Junior All-American
- Won the first event of the 2020 season at the 2019 Rolex Tournament of Champions
- Won, The PING Invitational
- Two-time AJGA Invitational champion
- T2, The Junior PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass
- Sixth, AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield
- T6, Junior Invitational at Sage Valley
- Won, Middle Atlantic Amateur Championship
- Won, Virginia State Golf Association Junior Stroke Play Championship
- Second, Jones Cup Junior Invitational
- Advanced to stroke play at the U.S. Amateur and North & South Amateur
Next-level Rolex Junior All-American success
Rolex Junior All-Americans have a long history of success. Phil Mickelson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka, Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa, Lexi Thompson, Danielle Kang, Anna Nordqvist, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, and Inbee Park are among the many Rolex Junior All-Americans who’ve achieved in college and beyond.
In 2020, AJGA alumnus and two-time Rolex Junior All-American Collin Morikawa won twice on the PGA TOUR, including his first career major at the PGA Championship. In his win at TPC Harding Park, Morikawa shot the lowest-ever weekend score by a major winner. Morikawa also won earlier this season in a playoff over two-time Rolex Junior All-American and AJGA tournament host Justin Thomas. 2015 first team Rolex Junior All-American Matthew Wolff earned a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open in his second top-five finish in a major championship in as many starts. Four years after being named a first team Rolex Junior All-American, Joaquin Niemann became the first player from Chile to win on the PGA TOUR, capturing his first title at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier. Cameron Champ, a two-time Rolex Junior All-American, earned his second PGA TOUR victory at the Safeway Open to become the first player to win twice on TOUR before turning 25 in 2018. On the LPGA Tour, 2002 Rolex Junior Player of the Year Inbee Park tallied her 20th career victory. The four-time first team Rolex Junior All-American sits in the top four of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and LPGA’s Race to the CME Globe. 2008 and 2009 Rolex Junior All-American Danielle Kang opened the LPGA’s return to competition with back-to-back LPGA Tour wins, bringing her to five career titles.
An unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise
Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster Perpetual and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. The word “Perpetual” is inscribed on every Rolex Oyster. But more than just a word on a dial, it is a philosophy that embodies the company’s vision and values. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of the company, instilled a notion of perpetual excellence that would drive the company forward. This led Rolex to pioneer the development of the wristwatch and numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism, invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 500 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Furthermore, Rolex is actively involved in supporting the arts and culture, sport and exploration, as well as those who are devising solutions to preserve the planet.
2020 Rolex Junior All-Americans
Boys - First Team
Jonas Appel of Encinitas, California
Kelly Chinn of Great Falls, Virginia – 2020 Rolex Junior Player of the Year (2nd honor)
David Ford of Peachtree Corners, Georgia (2nd honor)
Maxwell Ford of Peachtree Corners, Georgia
Benjamin James of Milford, Connecticut (2nd honor)
Thomas Morrison of Dallas, Texas
Luke Potter of Encinitas, California (3rd honor)
Gordon Sargent of Birmingham, Alabama (3rd honor)
Preston Summerhays of Scottsdale, Arizona
Jackson Van Paris of Pinehurst, North Carolina (4th honor)
Karl Vilips of Perth, Australia (5th honor)
Wells Williams of West Point, Mississippi (2nd honor)
Girls - First Team
Brooke Biermann of Wildwood, Missouri
Zoe Antoinette Campos of Valencia, California (4th honor)
Leigh Chien of Irvine, California
Megha Ganne of Holmdel, New Jersey (2nd honor)
Xin (Cindy) Kou of (China) Whittier, California (5th honor)
Lynn Lim of Gallatin, Tennessee
Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Florida (4th honor)
Bohyun Park of (South Korea) Farmers Branch, Texas (3rd honor)
Catherine Rao of Camarillo, California
Kelly Xu of Claremont, California (2nd honor)
Michelle Zhang of (China) Plano, Texas (2nd honor)
Rose Zhang of Irvine, California – 2020 and 2019 Rolex Junior Player of the Year (5th overall honor)
Boys - Second Team
Luke Clanton of Miami Lakes, Florida
Kiko Francisco Coelho of (Portugal) Lake Mary, Florida
Luke Coyle of Campbellsville, Kentucky
Scotty Kennon of Bradenton, Florida (2nd honor)
Yuki Moriyama of (Japan) Las Vegas, Nevada (2nd honor)
Jackson Rivera of San Diego, California (3rd honor)
Brett Roberts of Coral Springs, Florida (2nd honor)
Luke Sample of New York, New York
William Sides of Tulsa, Oklahoma
Caleb Surratt of Indian Trail, North Carolina
Brendan Valdes of Orlando, Florida (2nd honor)
Evan Vo of Austin, Texas
Girls - Second Team
Jasmine Koo of Cerritos, California
Jaclyn LaHa of Pleasanton, California
Dianna Lee of San Diego, California
Kyung Eun Lee of Honolulu, Hawaii
Mackenzie Lee of North Little Rock, Arkansas
Ashley Menne of Surprise, Arizona (4th honor)
Kiara Romero of San Jose, California
Kaitlyn Schroeder of Jacksonville, Florida
Bailey Shoemaker of West Edmeston, New York
Grace Summerhays of Scottsdale, Arizona
Lucy Yuan of (Canada) San Diego, California
Sophie Zhang-Murphy of Saratoga, California
Boys - Honorable Mention
Kevin An of Riverside, California
Mahanth Chirravuri of Chandler, Arizona
Tucker Clark of Phoenix, Arizona (2nd honor)
John Daly II of Clearwater, Florida
Kaelen Dulany of Keller, Texas
Ryan Dupuy of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Ethan Gao of Alpharetta, Georgia
Andrew Goodman of Norman, Oklahoma (2nd honor)
Jake Griffin of Kensington, Maryland
Jonathan Griz of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (2nd honor)
Zach Heffernan of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
Piercen Hunt of (Canada) Hartland, Wisconsin (2nd honor)
Daniel Kim of Mukilteo, Washington
Zach Kingsland of Austin, Texas
Gaven Lane of Argyle, Texas
Jay Nimmo of Benton, Kentucky (2nd honor)
Anawin Pikulthong of Gilbert, Arizona
Mehrbaan Singh of Ashburn, Virginia
Jase Summy of Keller, Texas
Matthew Troutman of Louisville, Kentucky
Jack Usner of The Woodlands, Texas (3rd honor)
Keaton Vo of Austin, Texas (2nd honor)
Connor Williams of Escondido, California
Jordan Wilson of Edmond, Oklahoma
Girls - Honorable Mention
Kynadie Adams of Gallatin, Tennessee
Amari Avery of Riverside, California (4th honor)
Gianna Clemente of Warren, Ohio
Loralie Cowart of Winston, Georgia
Lauren Gomez of Murrieta, California
Sara Im of Duluth, Georgia
Taylor Kehoe of Strathroy, Ontario, Canada
Eunice Kim of Edgewater, New Jersey
Frances Kim of Rolling Hills Estate, California
Alexsandra Lapple of Pinehurst, North Carolina
Katie Li of Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Jacqueline Nguyen of Houston, Texas
Lauryn Nguyen of Seattle, Washington
Makenzie Niblett of Austin, Texas
Amanda Sambach of Davidson, North Carolina (2nd honor)
Katherine Schuster of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Elina Sinz of Katy, Texas
Zoe Slaughter of Houston, Texas
Kendall Todd of Goodyear, Arizona
Casey Weidenfeld of Pembroke Pines, Florida (2nd honor)
Meagan Winans of Richardson, Texas
Ashley Yun of West Covina, California (2nd honor)
Caiyi (Flora) Zhang of (China) Bradenton, Florida
Reagan Zibilski of Springfield, Missouri