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Rose Zhang returns to LPGA action during hectic finals week at Stanford

Rose Zhang’s pre-tournament press conference at the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship got moved because of a final exam in her media psych class. Later that night, she had a 15-page paper due for a political science class.

“That class is a little bit more niche,” she explained, “so it requires more research and reading and integration of real-life context versus the context that we learned in class. So it’s a little bit more difficult there.

“But after these are done, I’ll be golden for the next couple days and going forward until I come back to winter quarter next year.

Just over a year ago, Zhang was at Palos Verdes Golf Club with her Stanford team for the Therese Hession Regional Challenge. The three-shot victory marked Zhang’s eighth title in 15 career collegiate starts. As a team, the Cardinal finished second that week without two of their starters.

This week marks the third time Palos Verdes has hosted an LPGA event. Zhang is one of five past winners of the Therese Hession Regional Challenge in the field this week, joined by World No. 1 Lilia Vu (2018), Andrea Lee (2019), Lindy Duncan (2012) and Carlota Ciganda (2011).

Fans look on as Rose Zhang and Rory McIlroy warm up on the range during Capital One’s The Match IX at The Park West Palm on February 26, 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match)

Zhang teed it up in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in January, where she tied for seventh, and flew back to Florida in February for Capital One’s The Match IX with Rory McIlroy, Max Homa and Lexi Thompson.

Zhang skipped the second LPGA event in Florida, the Drive On, won by Nelly Korda, as well as all three events in the Asian swing.

Even so, there wasn’t much downtime during Zhang’s extended offseason. Trying to find a balance between part-time student and full-time golf professional remains a priority for the 20-year-old.

Though Zhang hardly returns to the LPGA refreshed, she called her winter quarter back at Palos Verdes “fulfilling,” pointing toward time spent with her non-golf friends. The lack of sleep and academic grind, she said, has tested in her ways that golf can’t. She’s also recovering from a recent battle with the flu that left her bedridden.

“But we’re out here thriving,” she said smiling. “I think a lot of the stress has come on to me, especially this week, it’s finals week, everyone is dying back at Stanford as well. All my friends are just going through it.”

As for her golf game, Zhang admits that finding time to practice has been difficult. Trying to balance 20 units in 10 weeks with all the other obligations that come with sponsorships as well as a social life has cut into time spent on her game.

When asked whether she’d considered not going back to campus in the future, Zhang, who has a residence in Las Vegas, said it’s a possibility.

“I mean, I’m pretty excited to come back out here to be fair,” she said. “Actually, school stresses me out a little bit more than golf does.

“I have considered taking online classes while I’m here on tour, so that’s a to-be-determined plan. As of now, I’m taking the spring quarter off and then we’ll evaluate what I do in the fall.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek


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