Castle, Zhang Automatic Selections to 2022 USA Team
November 2, 2021 | Liberty Corner, N.J.
By Julia Pine, USGA
Reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Jensen Castle and 2021 Mark H. McCormack Medal recipient Rose Zhang have earned automatic places on the 2022 USA Curtis Cup Team. The eight-woman team will compete against Great Britain and Ireland in the 42nd Curtis Cup Match June 10-12 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
“As part of the USGA’s selection process for its international competitions, the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and Mark H. McCormack Medal winner receive automatic selections to the Curtis Cup Team,” said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director, Championships. “We felt it was important to keep those selections intact, despite the unprecedented nature of the current Match schedule. Both Jensen and Rose are fantastic competitors and people, and we are proud to once again have them represent the USGA and the United States.”
The 41st Curtis Cup Match was postponed from June 2020 to August 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 Match will be played on schedule, just nine months after the conclusion of the last match.
Both Castle and Zhang were members of the 2021 team that defeated Great Britain and Ireland, 12½-7½ in August at Conwy Golf Club in Wales. Castle went 1-1-2, while Zhang went 4-0-1, in what was the USA’s first victory overseas since 2008.
Sarah Ingram, a three-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion (1991, 1993, 1994) and a member of three USA Curtis Cup Teams (1992, 1994 and 1996), will again serve as captain after leading the USA to victory earlier this year. Ingram, who was the low amateur in the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open, is a member of the Duke University Sports Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame.
“Having Rose and Jensen on the Curtis Cup Team this past summer was an absolute joy. Their experience, familiarity and leadership will be invaluable at Merion,” said Ingram. “I have really enjoyed getting to know these two fabulous young ladies and look forward to continuing our Curtis Cup journey together as we look to secure back-to-back victories.”
The Curtis Cup Match is a biennial international women’s amateur golf competition between eight-player teams from the United States of America and Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I). It consists of six foursomes (alternate-shot) matches, six four-ball matches and eight singles matches over three days of competition. The USGA’s International Team Selection (ITS) Working Group selects the USA Team, while The R&A selects the GB&I Team.
Notable past USA Curtis Cup Team members include U.S. Women’s Open champions JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Paula Creamer, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Patty Sheehan, Hollis Stacy and Michelle Wie, as well as past and present LPGA stars such as Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, Beth Daniel, Jessica Korda, Nancy Lopez and Dottie Pepper. The six remaining players of the 2022 team will be named in 2022.
Jensen Castle, 20, of West Columbia, S.C., defeated Yu-Chiang (Vivian) Hou, 2 and 1, to win the 121st U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., in August. Castle, a junior at the University of Kentucky, survived a 12-for-2 playoff to advance to match play on her way to becoming the first Wildcat golfer to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Three weeks later, she earned 2 points for the victorious USA Curtis Cup Team, finishing with a 1-1-2 record in Wales. Castle also competed in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club and reached the quarterfinals of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball with University of Kentucky teammate Marissa Wenzler. Castle, who set Kentucky’s single-season stroke average record as a freshman, has two top-20 finishes in three events with the Wildcats this fall, including a T3 finish in the Mason Rudolph Championship.
Rose Zhang, 18, of Irvine, Calif., is a two-time USGA champion and currently No. 1 in the Women’s WAGR, having won the McCormack Medal as the world’s leading amateur in August for the second consecutive year. After winning the 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur in Maryland, Zhang earned her second USGA title in July, defeating Bailey Davis, 6 and 4, in the final match of the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, becoming just the eighth player to win both the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur. A freshman at Stanford University, Zhang is a perfect 3-for-3 in college starts, earning individual victories at The Molly, Windy City Collegiate Classic and the Stanford Intercollegiate, while also leading the Cardinal to three straight team victories to begin the season. It is the first time in Cardinal history that a freshman – male or female – has won their first three events. Prior to arriving at Stanford, Zhang went 4-0-1 to lead the United States over GB&I in the Curtis Cup. She has competed in six women’s major championships, making the cut in three, including a T11 finish in the 2020 ANA Inspiration. Zhang finished T3 at this year’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur.