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Rose Zhang eyes strong finish to 2023 with new caddie on her bag

October 31, 2023

Rose Zhang and new caddie Brett Olly celebrate after she made birdie on the 18th hole in the third round of the Maybank Championship.

Yong Teck Lim

Rose Zhang has marked another first in her debut LPGA Tour season by changing her caddie. Zhang replaced Jason Gilroyed, who looped for Zhang since she turned professional, including her debut victory in June’s Mizuho Americas Open, with Olly Brett for the remainder of the 2023 season. The new partnership started at last week's Maybank Championship in Malaysia, where Zhang tied for third.

"Gilly [Gilroyed's nickname] has been amazing, and I'm just super grateful for having him on my bag the last couple months," Zhang said Sunday in response to emailed questions from Golf Digest. "He's a veteran out here, so being able to really just learn from him and learn inside the ropes on what tour life is like, I think he was a great voice for me.

"After Solheim, I just felt like for me to really bring myself out, I wanted maybe a little bit of a different voice on the golf course just to change it up. I feel like I'm still a rookie, and I still have lots to learn, and kudos to Gilly for really just carrying me all the way. But I felt like maybe it was time for something different, and Olly was just such an amazing pick. I felt like just having him was a great start to this new voice."

Gilroyed, who caddied for Minjee Lee for the previous five seasons, and Zhang had a dynamic start to the decorated amateur's professional career. Beyond her debut victory at Liberty National, Zhang, 20, finished in the top 10 in her first three major starts. After a T-9 at the Amundi Evian Championship in late July, the Southern California native's results slowed, and in her next four starts, her best result was a T-31 at the Kroger Queen City Championship, alongside a missed cut and two finishes in the 40s.

Following her Solheim Cup debut in September, where she earned a half-point in three sessions, Zhang began the LPGA's fall Asia swing using local caddies for the Buick LPGA Shanghai and the BMW Ladies Championship. Zhang's agent, Kevin Hopkins, then connected Zhang to Brett. Like Gilroyed, Brett has plenty of LPGA looping experience, having caddied for Danielle Kang from 2017 through 2022. He primarily worked for Mike Weir on PGA Tour Champions this season.

They meshed quickly, with Zhang’s T-3 last week as her second-best result of the season. Throughout the week, Zhang complimented Brett in her post-round interviews on how much she enjoyed their time together on the course. Finding that chemistry is what she's looking for in her caddie.

"I felt like I haven't really switched too many caddies, and I don't plan on doing so," Zhang said. "I think if things are working, things are working, and it's still a player's responsibility to hit the shot. So, just getting a good feel, getting a good vibe is mostly what I want [from a caddie]."

Currently, it is a short-term partnership, as Zhang explained that Brett is only committed to caddie her two remaining events for this season—this week's Toto Japan Classic and the CME Tour Championship, Nov. 16-19.

According to the LPGA's media page, Gilroyed has not caddied on tour since the Solheim.