Rose Zhang Back at Evian After Welcome-to-the-Pros Moments

Rose Zhang Back at Evian After Welcome-to-the-Pros Moments
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The LPGA competition hasn’t required much of a learning curve for Rose Zhang.

The hard part has been adjusting to tour life.

As much as Zhang expected a few growing pains, the 20-year-old star has discovered in her first two months that life as a touring professional isn’t always glamorous or easy. She endured a travel nightmare ahead of the U.S. Women’s Open, got sick in her most recent LPGA start and has begun to understand the need for proper rest and nutrition in order to survive an entire full season.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday ahead of the Evian Championship, the LPGA’s fourth major of the year, Zhang said the off-week last week “helped a lot because it was kind of a moment in time where I can settle down a little bit. My body was low-key breaking down.”

Zhang said she was sick at the Dana Open, where she missed the cut in her fourth start as a pro after rounds of 66-77. She said the break at home allowed her to “clear my mind a little bit” and enter the tour’s European swing – three straight events, including two majors – with a “fresh outlook.”

Zhang’s illness in Ohio came on the back end of a busy two-week stretch to prepare for the highly anticipated U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach, where she was the betting favorite. Zhang had two days of flight postponements and cancellations, leading to her sleeping for a night on a couch in an airport hotel and locking up her back. She ended up tying for ninth, her second consecutive major top-10 following her rousing playoff victory in her LPGA debut.

“I definitely knew that tour life was going to be a little bit difficult; I feel like I reiterated that quite a bit in media in past events,” she said. “Safe to say, it’s just as I expected.

“You still have to go through it. I’ve learned that taking care of my body also involves just understanding your nutrition and anything from sleep to (physical therapy) and working out. These are all things I’m still trying to navigate. I’m currently month two into being a professional, so I feel like there is a lot more months where I can figure out a little bit more.”

Zhang, who has rocketed to No. 35 in the latest Rolex Rankings, said that she has been picking the brains of other LPGA veterans to see how they handle the toll of a long season and achieve longevity in the sport.

“I’ve been really lucky to have them,” she said. “They’ve sort of guided me in terms of how I should prepare.”

Zhang will tee off at 2:27 a.m. ET Thursday at the Evian alongside Nelly Korda and Minjee Lee. Zhang tied for 65th last year in France, when she competed as an amateur.

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