When is the last time a professional golfer won in their debut on the LPGA Tour?

When is the last time a professional golfer won in their debut on the LPGA Tour?

A photo of golfer Rose Zhang Rose Zhang poses with the trophy after winning the during the final match at the 2021 U.S. Girls' Junior at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md. on Saturday, July 17, 2021. (Kathryn Riley/USGA)

Rose Zhang is looking to make golf history again this week in the inaugural 2023 Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The former Augusta National Women's Amateur, US Women's Amateur and US Girls Junior Amateur champion turned pro after winning her second-consecutive NCAA women's individual national championship and is making her professional debut on a sponsor exemption into this first-year event.

Now Zhang leads after three rounds and finds herself in a truly unique position -- one that rarely comes along. It's the chance to not only win in her LPGA Tour debut as a professional but in her professional debut tournament.

The last professional golfer to win in their LPGA Tour debut was Hinako Shibuno, who won the 2019 AIG Women's Open to capture her first major championship of her career. However, Shibuno had been a seasoned pro on the Japanese LPGA Tour, meaning she had plenty of experience by the time she won the major, which is co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour.

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The fascinating record Zhang is chasing is one that dates back to 1951. Zhang would be the first player since Beverly Hanson to win in her first professional tournament while competing on the LPGA Tour. Hanson won the 1951 Eastern Open in her professional debut to earn the distinction, with the LPGA founded in 1950. However, Hanson had actually already earned an LPGA Tour win in 1950 as an amateur when she won the Women's Texas Open, and back in that era, it was more common for a player to remain an amateur for longer or to compete in pro events throughout their competitive life as an am.

For Zhang, this would be a truly remarkable, unique achievement were she to win against a stacked field in her first professional tournament. She would take home $412,500 for the win and earn LPGA Tour status for two seasons immediately upon winning.

No player in PGA Tour history has won on their debut, though 20 players have won in their debut on the PGA Tour Champions upon turning 50 and becoming eligible.

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