COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Danielle Kang loves a good crowd. The 18-year-old played to it on Friday at the U.S. Women’s Open, tying fellow playing competitor Paula Creamer with a 1-over 72 and edging World No. 1 Yani Tseng by one stroke.
“There’s so many people,” Kang said. “I wanted to take a picture, but I can’t take my phone out.”
They’re back at it again this afternoon, keeping the same pairings for Round 2.
Kang, playing in her third U.S. Women’s Open, qualified for all four majors this year thanks to her victory over Jessica Korda at last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur. This marks Kang’s third Open appearance. She finished 64th last year at Oakmont and missed the cut in 2007 as a 14-year-old.
Of the three players in her group, only Kang parred the opening hole at The Broadmoor’s East Course, harnessing a good case of nerves. The California native embraced the idea of playing in the championship’s marquee pairing, saying she wanted to study how Creamer and Tseng handle the game’s biggest stage.
“They’re very patient and steady,” said Kang, who chitchatted often with Tseng but sensed that Creamer was too focused for idle conversation.
Kang’s success at USGA events also includes stroke-play medalist at the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior and 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Kang graduated from high school early and in January 2010 enrolled at Pepperdine, where she earned second-team All-America honors in one semester. She became academically ineligible for the postseason in May 2011 and won’t return to school in the fall. Kang plans to turn professional after the U.S. Women’s Amateur in August.