USA Captain Already Talking Up Zhang's Solheim Cup Chances - A Year Ahead Of Schedule

Stacy Lewis says Rose Zhang was on her radar for the 2024 Solheim Cup, but the rising star now looks well-placed to play in Spain this year

Rose Zhang
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rose Zhang looks a good bet to be included in the USA team for this year's Solheim Cup in Spain, with captain Stacy Lewis already discussing selecting her a year earlier than planned.

Lewis says "Rose was more on my radar for 2024" as the tournament will be played in back-to-back years to get back on an even-year schedule - with Lewis captain for both events.

Amateur superstar Zhang has had a stellar rise in the game, most notably becoming the first player since Beverly Hanson in 1951 to win on her LPGA professional debut, and Lewis has already talked about having her in the Solheim Cup.

"I've texted with Rose a little bit since her win, just needed her to try some clothes on and stuff like that," Lewis told .

"I was letting her get over last week before I started bugging her. Yeah, the (assistant) captains and I already started talking about (Zhang making the team)."

Clinching back-to-back NCAA D1 titles and the 2023 Augusta National Women's Amateur title put Zhang on the map, and firmly on the radar for Lewis, but more for the 2024 tournament.

Going out and winning the Mizuho Americas Open in her first outing as a pro, though, not only proved she could do it in the big leagues but also made sure she was eligible for this year's Solheim Cup.

"She's moving up the Rolex Rankings so fast that I think she could potentially end up sneaking into the Rolex spots and not even need a pick," said Lewis, who is tipped to make Zhang a pick if she doesn't manage a late run up the rankings. 

"That's just how good she is, anyone who's followed college golf knows that's not a surprise.

"Now it's so important just because it's so close (to the Solheim Cup), it's about who's trending in the right direction.

"There's a lot of points, there's a lot of things to play for these next three months," added Lewis, who wants Zhang "to know we're paying attention, but she's got to go earn her spot just like everybody else."

Zhang has played and won the Curtis Cup twice already for Team USA, and her meteoric rise could now see her become a Solheim Cup star at the age of just 20.

Lewis is under intense pressure to win the Solheim Cup back this year, with Europe winning the last two and aiming to win it three times in a row for the first time in tournament history.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.