Rose Zhang Hires Veteran Caddie Ahead Of Pro Debut

Experienced looper Jason Gilroyed will be on the prize bag of Rose Zhang as she makes her first pro start on the LPGA Tour

Rose Zhang
The former World No.1 amateur in her first press conference as a pro
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rose Zhang will have experienced caddie Jason Gilroyed by her side as she makes her first professional debut on the LPGA Tour this week.

The 20-year-old announced last week that she would be leaving the amateur game and now she will tee it up at the LPGA Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National after a glittering amateur career.

In her time at Stanford University Zhang became the first woman to win back-to-back NCAA titles and she picked up an incredible 12 wins, eight of them this season, in just 20 starts. For reference Tiger Woods' best season at Stanford featured eight victories.

In August 2020 Zhang won the US Women's Amateur to reach the World No. 1 amateur spot and this year she captured the Augusta National Women's Amateur in a playoff over Jenny Bae after taking a five-shot lead into the final round. Later that month she overtook Leona Maguire in spending the most weeks (136) as the World No. 1 amateur – she would go on to spend 141 consecutive weeks as the leading player.

Zhang has already played in eight Majors and she will have Gilroyed on her bag for the remaining four big ones which she has exemptions for. Gilroyed has 26 LPGA wins to his name, including four Majors, and he has a long list of players on his CV.

He began work on the LPGA in 1996 and has worked for the likes of Rosie Jones, Cristie Kerr, Jessica Korda, Anna Nordqvist, Alison Lee and, most recently, Minjee Lee – they split up in February of this year after sharing five highly successful years which featured the Australian's two Major triumphs.

He was once famously sacked mid round by Korda at the 2013 US Women's Open with the player's boyfriend, now husband Johnny DelPrete, taking over the bag during the third round – Korda would go on to finish the week at Sebonack in a tie for seventh.

Jason Gilroyed

Jason Gilroyed during his time working with Minjee Lee

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gilroyed's son Tyler is a student at Stanford and he recently visited Zhang for a tour of the campus and dinner followed by a round at Pebble Beach where the US Women's Open will take place next month and where Zhang (63) holds the women's course record.

“She shot 4 under pretty easily at 6am at Pebble when it was pretty cold,” explained Gilroyed. “If I had to describe her game it would be more a Jin Young (Ko). You know it’s going to be about precision.”

As for how the rest of 2023 is going to play out, Zhang has unsurprisingly managed to secure a number of starts on the LPGA Tour though she has also decided to finish her studies at Stanford.

"I was trying to figure out what events would even accept me as a player, and thankfully I had a couple sponsor invites lined up for me. I was able to rack up eight starts in total, which was super, super nice to just have a summer that I could just full on play and experience. And then I'll be playing four Majors as well, so that's honestly a super exciting experience to have for the summer," Zhang said.

"I don't really have any expectations in terms of performance. It's more of understanding what I need to do as a professional. Take care of myself, my golf game, what works well for me when I transition to every event that I'm playing in. The struggles that a player has mostly pertains to the lifestyle and the entire dynamic of playing golf as a career rather than just a hobby so I think I'll be figuring out what time management really is."

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.