Danielle Kang and her fellow LPGA pros hadn’t played an event on women’s golf’s biggest tour since February. Turns out Kang spent her free time wisely.
The 27-year-old closed with a two-under 70 on Sunday at Inverness in Toledo, Ohio, to hold off Celine Boutier by one and win the LPGA Drive On Championship, the LPGA’s first tournament since it closed down in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I made sure I played golf as much as I did normally, not because I had to but because I wanted to,” Kang said. “I’m so thankful for the time. I tried to make the best of it. We had all the time in the world. Golf courses were open in Nevada. I didn’t have to rush and cram for a test. I’m proud of the work I was able to do.”
Kang, Boutier and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were all tied for the lead at five under heading into the final round of the 54-hole event, and Kang jumped ahead early by birdieing two of her first four holes. But after a Kang bogey on 13 and Boutier birdie on 14 (her third in four holes), they were tied at the top with four to play.
Then came the par-4 15th, where Boutier made bogey after missing a short par putt. She had a chance to force a playoff with a birdie on 18, but she missed a putt from inside four feet. Kang made all pars after her bogey on 13 to win. It’s the fourth career LPGA victory for Kang.
“I kept telling myself, stick to the game plan. The game plan was to play aggressive and play my game,” Kang said. “No matter what anybody else did it didn’t really matter. It does but it doesn’t, because I still have to hit the shots. So I stayed really aggressive on 16, 17 and 18.”