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Danielle Kang has put together quite the resume since taking down Jessica Korda more than a decade ago on her way to winning the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur. But three years before her match-play triumph at Charlotte (North Carolina) Country Club, the California native was pushed into 2007 U.S. Women’s Open qualifying without even knowing it. Her brother signed her up and then Kang did the unthinkable: advanced through local and sectional qualifying to earn a spot in the field at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club.
She was 14 years old at the time and oh yeah – had only picked up a golf club for the first time a year and a half earlier.
During a recent podcast interview, Kang explained her first love: competition.
“I loved the competition. The game, I learned to love it later.” Kang told podcast host Hally Leadbetter. “I was good at it, which made me like it. I probably learned to really love golf in the last four or five years.
“I felt that golf was sometimes taking things away from me, but then I realized that it has given me so many opportunities.”
Danielle Kang reacts to missing a putt on the ninth green during competition rounds of the Solheim Cup golf tournament at Inverness Club. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Since the start of her rookie season in 2012, Kang has won five times on the LPGA tour, including her lone major victory at the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (her first win on tour).
She’s represented the United States at the last three Solheim Cups, as well as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where she finished T-20.
On the heels of her two-win year in 2020 (LPGA Drive On Championship, Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana), she’s yet to hoist hardware in 2021 despite nine top-10 finishes in 19 starts.