'School Stresses Me Out A Little Bit More Than Golf Does' - Rose Zhang On Juggling Crazy College Schedule With Pro Career

The 20-year-old Stanford student had an exam and a 15-page paper to complete this week before preparing for her second LPGA Tour event of the year

Rose Zhang smiles while competing at The Match
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rose Zhang admits life hasn’t been easy as she juggles college finals and an LPGA Tour event this week. 

And to top it all off, she is also recovering from a bad case of the flu, leading to “a lot of stress” ahead of this week's Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship

Her press conference on Tuesday even had to be cut short so she could drive back to Irvine, where she studies at Stanford, for her final media psych exam later that day, before having to finish off a 15-page paper that’s due for a political science class. 

“The lack of sleep and the constant grinding in school, it definitely hasn't been easy,” Zhang said. “I would argue that it's tested me in ways that golf couldn't test me.”

The 20-year-old has been balancing her studies and playing on the LPGA Tour since turning pro last May, after becoming the most decorated golfer in women’s amateur history. 

She won the US Women’s Amateur in 2020 and followed it up with back-to-back NCAA Division I Championships, becoming the first woman to win two individual titles. She then sealed the Augusta National Women's Amateur title to cap off her incredible amateur CV.

Her professional career got off to a flier when she became the first women’s player in 72 years to win her debut event in the paid ranks at the Mizuho Americas Open last year. She’s since continued to perform well on tour, earning five top-10s including a tie for seventh at the Tournament of Champions in January.

Rose Zhang with the Mizuho Americas Open trophy

Rose Zhang with the Mizuho Americas Open trophy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

However, it all seemed to come to a head this week.

“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.

“So once this kind of quarter wraps up everyone is going to be having a good time afterwards.”

It's also meant less time working on her golf game, causing her to consider online classes going forward.

“It's been a little bit difficult,” she said. “I think that I've realized balancing 20 units in the ten weeks has not been super easy.

“I have had to time manage myself a little bit better while it was my off-season. So I was able to kind of have a life outside of golf, school, but it's taken a little bit of practice time to do so.”

Despite her impressive debut season last year, Zhang still believes she was a little stagnant coming into this season – such is her quest for perfection on the course. But she believes she’s starting to trend in the right direction.

“I believe that the next couple events that I'm going to be playing in will really kind of tell how I am feeling mentally, physically, and how I'm able to perform.

“But I am thinking that I've taken my time to realize where I'm stagnant in and build my team, build myself around that. So slowly I think I'm getting out of the stagnant era.

“And it doesn't matter how I perform, but I do think that I am trending towards the right direction in how I want to do things later on and throughout the year.”

She says she is looking forward to her next challenge at Palos Verdes Golf Club, where she's had success during her time as a collegiate golfer.

"I'm pretty excited to come back out here. Actually school stresses me out a little bit more than golf does."

Joel Kulasingham
News Writer

Joel Kulasingham is freelance writer for Golf Monthly. He has worked as a sports reporter and editor in New Zealand for more than five years, covering a wide range of sports including golf, rugby and football. He moved to London in 2023 and writes for several publications in the UK and abroad. He is a life-long sports nut and has been obsessed with golf since first swinging a club at the age of 13. These days he spends most of his time watching, reading and writing about sports, and playing mediocre golf at courses around London.