Two wins out of two for birthday girl Kang

The Qizhong Garden Golf Club in Shanghai is proving to be a happy hunting ground for Danielle Kang, who won her second straight Buick LPGA Shanghai title yesterday.
The Qizhong Garden Golf Club in Shanghai is proving to be a happy hunting ground for Danielle Kang, who won her second straight Buick LPGA Shanghai title yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SHANGHAI • Danielle Kang capped her 27th birthday with a nail-biting one-stroke win at the Buick LPGA Shanghai yesterday, fending off Jessica Korda for her second victory at the tournament.

The champion trailed fellow American Korda, the overnight front runner on 15 under, by one in the second edition of the US$2.1 million (S$2.4 million) event.

But the lead flipped on the first hole with a birdie for Kang and a bogey for her rival.

After the two-shot swing, Kang's commanding short game kept her ahead for most of the day at the Qizhong Garden Golf Club.

Kang, who managed only two birdies but more importantly, did not drop a shot in her final round, closed with a two-under 70 for a winning total of 16-under 272.

"It was a really stressful day but I definitely really played well out there," said Kang. "I've never been more nervous than the last putt for some reason, but I made it."

Korda's superior driving drew her level twice, but a narrow miss on the green of the 11th notched her third bogey and she trailed for the rest of the round to card a 72.

She nearly fell out of contention on the 512-yard 13th when a disastrous tee shot flew right of the fairway and came to rest against a spectator behind a tree, leaving barely enough room for her second swing.

She salvaged a par and went one under on the final par-five hole to bring her back within grasp of a play-off, but failed to capitalise on a birdie chance on the 18th.

  • 27th

  • Birthday yesterday of American Danielle Kang, winner of her second straight Buick LPGA Shanghai title. 

"It was just one of those days where it just wasn't meant to be, I guess," said Korda, 26.

"If you were going to tell me at the start of the week I would've come out finishing second, play in the final group, and had the week I did I would've probably taken it, but this one definitely sucks."

It was Kang's third professional tournament win after last year's Shanghai victory and the 2017 Women's PGA Championship at Olympia Fields in Illinois.

First-round leader Nasa Hataoka mounted a determined challenge but was dogged by a rough patch through the back nine on the second day, finishing with a 68 and was joint-third on 275.

The Japanese world No. 4 was tied with America's Kristen Gillman (68) and China's Yu Liu (65).

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2019, with the headline 'Two wins out of two for birthday girl Kang'. Print Edition | Subscribe