Rose Zhang Says Life Hasn't Changed 'As Drastically As Everyone May Think' Since First Pro Win

The 20-year-old admits even winning on the LPGA Tour in her first pro start hasn't changed most things about her life

Rose Zhang talks to the media ahead of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol
Rose Zhang says her life hasn't changed much since she won the Mizuho Americas Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rose Zhang has admitted her life has become busier since her victory in the Mizuho Americas Open in her first start as a professional, but it hasn't changed too dramatically.

The 20-year-old only turned professional last month following a historic amateur career that included a long list of achievements including a US Women's Amateur victory, a win in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and a record of 141 consecutive weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Her first outing as a pro on the LPGA Tour was just as impressive, as she held off the challenge of the far more experienced Jennifer Kupcho to win at Liberty National.

That brought unprecedented attention onto the American, and, as she prepares for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol, she admitted it took her by surprise.

She said: “I definitely did not expect a lot of frenzy to occur over my last win. I expected people to know. I expected people to be just super happy about it, but I never thought that media would also be like all over it, as well. It was definitely a lot more than I expected, but I've been doing quite a few press interviews, press conferences.”

Nevertheless, she then revealed that once back at her university campus, life continued as normal despite the win, which earned her prize money of $412,500. She explained: “Once I got back on campus, all my friends were like: ‘Yo, congrats.’ After that we spent time just talking about random things and how they have been surviving campus life.”

Zhang then said that despite the additional press attention that came her way following her most high-profile victory to date, her life at home is not dissimilar to how it had been. 

She continued: “I feel like it's crazy to say that other than all the additional press interviews and all the extra attention, my life hasn't really changed as drastically as everyone may think. It's just super busy, obviously, and there's a lot more happening.

“With the people around me, they haven't really changed, and I appreciate that because they are a sense of like normalcy when I'm around them, especially back home.

“My family, my mom, my brother and my sister-in-law, I was playing with my niece in the last three days that I was at home. Obviously my niece is two and a half. She's not going to know that I won a tournament or she doesn't even know that I play golf. It's more I go back home and everything is just very relaxed, and I have a good time.”

One difference Zhang has noticed since turning pro is the comparative lack of time to work on her game.

She said: “I will say that I haven't been able to work on my game as much as I was able to before as an amateur. There's a lot more obligations that you have to do as a professional. You have a lot more press interviews, conferences, and it does take a lot out of you and a lot out of your time and energy. Therefore I haven't been able to grind like I usually have been.”

‘This Week Isn’t Necessarily Anything Different’

Rose Zhang during a practice round before the 2023 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol

Rose Zhang is approaching the KPMG Women's PGA Championship like any other Major

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zhang is no stranger to Majors, and played in several as an amateur, even finishing tied for 11th in the 2020 Chevron Championship. She explained she’s determined to approach this week’s second Major of the year in the same manner as always.

She said: “I don't think it's any different. I feel like if anything, I've played Major championships before as an amateur, and with that amateur status, I kept in mind, hey, I'm just going to go out here, have a learning experience, and it's been turning out well for me.

“I've played well in the Major championships that I've competed in, but if anything, this week isn't necessarily anything different. I would compare this week to other weeks, whether it's in college golf or even last week at Mizuho.”

Zhang did admit that the course has all the telltale signs of a Major, though. She said: “The golf course is much more difficult. The way that the course is laid out is a lot more of a tester for all the players out here this week.

“With that in mind, it's just the venue is going to be a lot more hard for us to play. We're going to have to grind through every single shot. It takes a lot more precision, a lot more grind within us to be able to execute what we need to when we're out here performing and playing. That's all I'm thinking about.”

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.