The most decorated amateur in women’s golf remains in no rush to join the professional ranks.
Stanford superstar Rose Zhang, who last week won the NCAA individual title before leading the Cardinal to a team national championship, announced Wednesday that she has decided to return to school for her sophomore season. Zhang, the world’s top-ranked amateur who ran away with the Annika Award as a freshman, declared her intentions – she also doesn't plan to go to LPGA Q-School in the fall – on Golf Channel’s “Live From the U.S. Women’s Open” prior to teeing it up in this week’s major championship at Pine Needles in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
"For now, I'm definitely staying for at least another year at Stanford and I don't think I'm going to be Q-School in the fall," Zhang said. "That's the plan for now, and I will go from there. I like to keep one- to two-year plan, and then after that, no clue."
Zhang already bucked the trend of world-beating amateurs bypassing the college ranks. She was No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, twice a McCormack medalist, a two-time USGA champion (2021 U.S. Girls Junior and 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur) and had already played in seven majors when she arrived at Stanford last fall.
This week’s U.S. Women’s Open will mark her eighth major start and fourth U.S. Women’s Open, where she made the cut in 2019. Her best major finish is a T-11 at the 2020 ANA Inspiration.
Last season for the Cardinal, Zhang won four times, including the NCAA Championship, and finished worse than T-4 just once in 10 starts – and that was a T-10.
Zhang’s decision to remain in school was likely made easier by new NIL rules, which permit amateur and college athletes to sign endorsement deals. Zhang has already signed several, including with Callaway and Adidas.
"Having NIL in general will allow a lot of athletes to want to stay four years," Zhang said.
So, four years for Zhang? "I really like to just live in the moment," she added.