Rose Zhang – the celebrated, accomplished young superstar who made a splash for the ages a few weeks ago by winning her first LPGA event as a professional – is quick to remind everyone that she is still doing the same kind of things plenty of other 20-year-old college kids do.

“Once I went back on campus, I had to get ready for finals,” Zhang said Tuesday from the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. “I studied at night with my friends, and we were all on the struggle bus together.”

Certainly something Zhang didn’t struggle with was her first event as a pro, winning the Mizuho Americas Open in a playoff. In the process, she became the first golfer on the LPGA Tour since 1951 to win in her pro debut. Although it wasn’t necessarily unexpected (Zhang won everything there was to win as an amateur and a college star, having captured 12 tournament titles while at Stanford, more than Tiger Woods) to have the hype train running into overdrive at her first event and still manage to win was very impressive.

Now, however, it’s time for Zhang’s first KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She has played eight major championships previously, but this will be her first major as a pro. She said that while she was an amateur teeing it up on the game’s biggest stages she wanted to just have solid learning experiences. Now, however, it’s time for the real thing.

Her fabulous collegiate resume earned her a special invite to Baltusrol — a golf course she says is absolutely a “major championship-type golf course.”

“I expected nothing less from it,” Zhang said. “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. 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.”

Rose Zhang, the golfer, has certainly proven so much in the last half-decade or so, but Rose Zhang, the professional golfer is still adjusting to how bright the spotlight can be. She admitted she hasn’t been able to work on her game as much as she’d like with plenty of business obligations occupying her time these days.

“I feel like as an amateur, you take it for granted where you can just be out on the range, no one is talking to you. You can hit balls for like four hours. You can chip, putt, do whatever you need to,” Zhang said. “But I can't really do that anymore.”

Zhang has been able to manage her practice time just fine so far this week, however, playing the front nine on Monday, 18 holes on Tuesday plus practice time, and nine holes on Wednesday.

Being back on the LPGA this week, she’s also had time to reflect on how meaningful that first victory was and what it’ll mean for her moving forward. Steph Curry, one of her favorite athletes and four-time NBA Champion with the Golden State Warriors, posted about Zhang on his Instagram story. The reach of her victory spread far and wide. And it did wonders for her confidence as she embarks on her pro-golf journey.

“It was more just validation for myself to say that, ‘Hey, I can compete at the highest level, and as long as I do what I need to, as long as I perform as well as I can, I'll be able to be in contention week in and week out,’” Zhang said. “Ideally the LPGA life is the dream life where you can come out here, play the sport as your profession, and just have a good time with friends out on Tour.

“It's just really cool to see how I was able to just go right into it and start out my career.”

Another start to Zhang’s career begins Thursday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, as she’ll tee it up in her first major as a pro.

And as far as school goes? She’s just happy to be done with computer science.

“That entire class has been quite difficult,” Zhang said with a laugh. “I’m super thankful to have friends who are (computer science) majors and we’ve grown really close over the last couple quarters (at school). They’ve been really pivotal in helping me pass that class.”

This week will be time for another major exam. But if Zhang’s pro debut is any indication, she won’t need any help to have her own success with this one.

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