“There’s so many people out on tour right now who are obviously doing super well at 17 or 18 years old,” said O’Sullivan, whose first name is pronounced HAH-nah. “But I realized for me a college experience is really important, and I didn’t really see the reason to push past that.”
O’Sullivan was speaking during a break in an afternoon hitting session at Whirlwind Golf Club, near her home in the Phoenix suburbs. It was three days after she missed the cut in her first competition in several months, the L.P.G.A. Founders Cup in Phoenix, and the temperature had climbed into the mid-90s. At the start of her practice, O’Sullivan was the only person at the back of the spacious range.
Almost an hour into her session, she got company when a middle-aged man set up next to her, so close he nearly scattered the loose golf balls in her pile every time he stepped back to admire his shot. O’Sullivan kept her head down and progressed through the clubs in her bag.