Kang defeats Korda for Women’s Am title

Danielle Kang pumps her fist after making birdie on the 35th hole to win the U.S. Women's Amateur on Aug. 15.

Danielle Kang pumps her fist after making birdie on the 35th hole to win the U.S. Women's Amateur on Aug. 15.


Complete U.S. Women’s Amateur coverage | Follow on Twitter: @Golfweek_Baldry



Podcast episode

Amateur

Kang talks U.S. Women’s Amateur victory

Danielle Kang describes what it feels like to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Danielle Kang spent 35 holes with a smile on her face, despite missed putts, lost holes, a rain shower and oppressive humidity at Charlotte Country Club on Sunday. The first and only tears fell after a 5-footer at the 17th hole to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur over Jessica Korda, 2 and 1.

Kang arguably was the underdog when the pair of 17-year-olds stepped to the tee Sunday morning. Already this week Korda had taken down such big names as Stephanie Kono, Candace Schepperle and Lisa McCloskey, and it’s no secret she hopes to attend LPGA Q-School this fall.

Neither hesitated in pouring in the birdies to start the morning, however, with Kang going 3 under in the first four holes to get an immediate 1-up edge. She would build it to 2 up through the next 14 holes, making a clutch putt or dropping a bomb for birdie each time Korda would cut into the lead.

“People kept saying my putter’s not working all these days, and I didn’t let that bother me because I know I’m a good putter,” said Kang, who slowed down her routine on the greens during the final match at the suggestion of her putting coach, Tony Kewal.

Kang didn’t let up as the afternoon wore on and the crowd swelled before a brief afternoon rain shower. She made birdie to halve the fourth after Korda hit the 448-yard par 5 in two and missed her 10-footer for eagle. Kang gave one back at the next hole with bogey, but a Korda bogey at No. 6 sent Kang back to 2 up.

Korda eventually got on a run with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 9 and 10, but Kang’s game never dropped off. It was a different experience from Korda’s early-week matches, when her birdies went unanswered from her opponents.

“I was making birdies but I was frustrated with her making birdies because I wasn’t used to that,” Korda said.

Korda also lacked the magic on the greens that she had displayed throughout the week. As the afternoon wore on, her lip-outs became more vicious and frequent as birdies became more and more crucial. After fighting back to a 1-up lead at the 12th, her first lead of the day, Korda suffered near-misses at Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 17. A few minutes after the match – and after some consoling from a USGA official in the players’ locker room – Korda realized that just two more made putts could have spelled a vastly different fate for her.

“It’s definitely going to help boost my confidence maybe in a week,” Korda said of her trip to the final. She plans to re-watch the TV coverage from Sunday’s final round in hopes of spotting the difference in her putting stroke that caused so many missed putts.

photo

Danielle Kang poses with the Robert Cox Trophy after winning the U.S. Women's Amateur on Aug. 15.

For Kang, the U.S. Women’s Amateur title is proof that the new, calm mindset she displayed all week in Charlotte will pay large dividends in the future. Her carefree attitude comes courtesy of a week at Oakmont Country Club last month for the U.S. Women’s Open. Kang came away realizing that letting her emotions get the best of her on the golf course doesn’t make for good golf. 

“After Oakmont and the U.S. (Girls’) Junior I was like, ‘I’m actually not that bad a player,’ ” Kang said. “I’m not that bad. I don’t know why I keep telling myself I’m bad.”

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Kang had a carefree and relaxed caddie in father K.S. He remained nearly expressionless through the week, offering sound and uplifting advice when things looked grim.

“I know that she the best, I think – I’m a father, you know,” K.S. simply said after the match.

When Kang approached the 5-footer for the win at the 17th, K.S. provided extra motivation to end the day there. Kang has been wanting her own TV, and K.S. agreed to get her one if she could make birdie.

Kang not only will need to clear shelf space for the TV, but also for the Robert Cox Trophy. It represents another in a string of summer honors for Kang, which includes medalist at the U.S. Girls’ Junior and a runner-up finish at the Canadian Women’s Amateur. Winning the title in Charlotte spelled relief for Kang, but not surprise.

“I came all the way here, and every tournament you can’t really say you’re surprised that you won,” Kang said. “It’s like I’ve worked hard to get here.”

Kang and Korda took vastly different roads to the Women’s Amateur final, and for now at least, they’ll continue their separate journeys. Kang graduated high school early to play for Pepperdine, earning second-team All-American honors and an individual medal in her first semester. She’ll return for another season with major status among the college ranks thanks to this week’s win.

As for Korda, who spent a large amount of her childhood in the Czech Republic and out of the spotlight, she’s not too sure when school resumes (that call will be made Monday) or when LPGA Q-School starts, but knows she wants to be there for both. 

Where team golf is concerned, Korda got plenty of experience this year representing the United States at the Curtis Cup and the Copa de las Americas. Both Kang and Korda expressed a desire to be part of the three-woman team that will represent the United States at the World Amateur Team Championship in October.

It’s hard to argue they haven’t earned it this week in Charlotte.


Final results from the U.S. Women’s Amateur, played Aug. 9-15 at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Club.

FINALS

Danielle Kang def. Jessica Korda, 2 and 1

• • •

SEMIFINALS

Danielle Kang def. Jennifer Kirby, 1 up

Jessica Korda def. Stephanie Sherlock, 4 and 3

• • •

QUARTERFINALS

Jennifer Kirby def. Kristen Park, 6 and 4

Danielle Kang def. Sydnee Michaels, 19 holes

Stephanie Sherlock def. Junthima Gulyanamitta, 2 and 1

Jessica Korda def. Erynne Lee, 4 and 3

• • •

ROUND OF16

Kristen Park def. Marina Alex, 20 holes

Jennifer Kirby def. Sara-Maude Juneau, 1 up

Sydnee Michaels def. Jungeun Han, 19 holes

Danielle Kang def. Juliana Murcia Ortiz, 1 up

Junthima Gulyanamitta def. Calle Nielson, 2 and 1

Stephanie Sherlock def. Kelly Shon, 3 and 1

Erynne Lee def. Lizette Salas, 3 and 1

Jessica Korda def. Lisa McCloskey, 20 holes

• • •

ROUND OF 32

Marina Alex def. Rachel Rohanna, 19 holes

Kristen Park def. Cydney Clanton, 2 and 1

Jennifer Kirby def. Doris Chen, 3 and 2

Sara-Maude Juneau def. Emily Tubert, 6 and 4

Sydnee Michaels def. Corrine Carr, 5 and 4

Jungeun Han def. Ariya Jutanugarn, 3 and 2

Juliana Murcia Ortiz def. Sally Watson, 7 and 6

Danielle Kang def. Gabriella Then, 5 and 3

Junthima Gulyanamitta def. Jaclyn Sweeney, 5 and 3

Calle Nielson def. Aimee Neff, 6 and 5

Stephanie Sherlock def. Caroline Hedwall, 19 holes

Kelly Shon def. Nicole Vandermade, 2 and 1

Erynne Lee def. Moriya Jutanugarn, 1 up

Lizette Salas def. Amira Alexander, 2 and 1

Lisa McCloskey def. Kristin Walla, 3 and 1

Jessica Korda def. Candace Schepperle, 4 and 2

• • •

ROUND OF 64

Rachel Rohanna def. Isabel Han

Marina Alex def. Victoria Tanco, 2 and 1

Cydney Clanton def. Tiffany Lua, 1 up

Kristen Park def. Jessica Negron, 1 up

Doris Chen def. Becca Huffer, 4 and 3

Jennifer Kirby def. Brittany Altomare, 4 and 3

Sara-Maude Juneau def. Anna Kim, 4 and 3

Emily Tubert def. Beverly Mendoza, 3 and 2

Brooke Pancake def. Corrine Carr

Sydnee Michaels def. Lisa Maunu, 6 and 4

Jungeun Han def. Amy Anderson, 7 and 5

Ariya Jutanugarn def. Nicole Zhang, 2 and 1

Sally Watson def. Margaret Shirley, 2 and 1

Juliana Murcia Ortiz def. Mia Piccio, 3 and 2

Danielle Kang def. Grace Na, 2 and 1

Gabriella Then def. Julia Borland, 3 and 1

Jaclyn Sweeney def. Jaclyn Jansen, 6 and 5

Junthima Gulyanamitta def. Daniela Lendl, 3 and 2

Calle Nielson def. Sarah Ababa, 2 and 1

Aimee Neff def. Natalie Sheary, 2 up

Caroline Hedwall def. Rebecca Lee-Bentham, 19 holes

Stephanie Sherlock def. Hannah O’Sullivan, 6 and 4

Nicole Vandermade def. Ai Miyazawa, 2 and 1

Kelly Shon def. Meghan Stasi, 4 and 3

Erynne Lee def. Isabelle Lendl, 19 holes

Moriya Jutanugarn def. Joy Trotter, 2 and 1

Lizette Salas def. Stephanie Meadow, 2 and 1

Lisa McCloskey def. Karen Chung, 5 and 4

Kristin Walla def. Brooke Beeler, 2 and 1

Jessica Korda def. Stephanie Kono, 3 and 2

Candace Schepperle def. Stefanie Kenoyer, 3 and 2

Amira Alexander def. Stacey Miller, 19 holes

• • •

STROKE-PLAY QUALIFYING

1 Rachel Rohanna 65-73--138 -6

1 Jaclyn Sweeney 69-69--138 -6

1 Erynne Lee 72-66--138 -6

4 Brooke Pancake 68-72--140 -4

5 Sally Watson 72-70--142 -2

5 Lisa McCloskey 74-68--142 -2

5 Caroline Hedwall 73-69--142 -2

8 Doris Chen 69-74--143 -1

8 Sara-Maude Juneau 71-72--143 -1

10 Nicole Vandermade 72-72--144 E

10 Jessica Korda 73-71--144 E

10 Danielle Kang 74-70--144 E

10 Jungeun Han 71-73--144 E

14 Lizette Salas 73-72--145 +1

14 Sarah Ababa 73-72--145 +1

14 Cydney Clanton 75-70--145 +1

14 Kristen Park 70-75--145 +1

14 Natalie Sheary 72-73--145 +1

14 Stacey Miller 72-73--145 +1

14 Ariya Jutanugarn 71-74--145 +1

14 Julia Boland 72-73--145 +1

14 Candace Schepperle 70-75--145 +1

23 Kelly Shon 71-75--146 +2

23 Beverly Mendoza 73-73--146 +2

23 Jennifer Kirby 76-70--146 +2

23 Stephanie Sherlock 70-76--146 +2

23 Brooke Beeler 70-76--146 +2

23 Mia Piccio 72-74--146 +2

29 Lisa Maunu 75-72--147 +3

29 Joy Trotter 74-73--147 +3

29 Junthima Gulyanamitta 70-77--147 +3

29 Marina Alex 70-77--147 +3

29 Victoria Tanco 74-73--147 +3

29 Daniela Lendl 75-72--147 +3

29 Moriya Jutanugarn 73-74--147 +3

29 Sydnee Michaels 75-72--147 +3

29 Juliana Murcia Ortiz 73-74--147 +3

29 Kristin Walla 72-75--147 +3

29 Hannah O'Sullivan 73-74--147 +3

40 Brittany Altomare 74-74--148 +4

40 Emily Tubert 76-72--148 +4

40 Meghan Stasi 76-72--148 +4

40 Stefanie Kenoyer 76-72--148 +4

40 Gabriella Then 77-71--148 +4

40 Nicole Zhang 73-75--148 +4

40 Amira Alexander 75-73--148 +4

47 Aimee Neff 74-75--149 +5

47 Jessica Negron 77-72--149 +5

47 Tiffany Lua 74-75--149 +5

47 Calle Nielson 75-74--149 +5

47 Stephanie Meadow 74-75--149 +5

47 Amy Anderson 72-77--149 +5

47 Grace Na 72-77--149 +5

47 Stephanie Kono 72-77--149 +5

55 Ai Miyazawa 77-73--150 +6

55 Anna Kim 75-75--150 +6

55 Becca Huffer 77-73--150 +6

55 Rebecca Lee-Bentham 72-78--150 +6

55 Karen Chung 74-76--150 +6

55 Margaret Shirley 70-80--150 +6

55 Corrine Carr 74-76--150 +6

55 Isabelle Lendl 74-76--150 +6

55 Jaclyn Jansen 74-76--150 +6

ADVANCED OUT OF PLAYOFF

64 Isabel Han 74-77--151 +7

FAILED TO ADVANCE

64 Tiffany Lim 73-78--151 +7

64 Victoria Trapani 78-73--151 +7

64 Holly Clyburn 76-75--151 +7

64 Love Lynn Guioguio 74-77--151 +7

64 Sarah Zwartynski 77-74--151 +7

Missed the cut

70 Katelyn Sepmoree 77-75--152 +8

70 Katherine Perry 75-77--152 +8

70 Stephanie A. Kim 75-77--152 +8

70 Ellen Mueller 74-78--152 +8

70 Mariko Tumangan 74-78--152 +8

70 Samantha Roberts 75-77--152 +8

76 Madison Pressel 76-77--153 +9

76 Janine Fellows 77-76--153 +9

76 Sandra Changkija 75-78--153 +9

76 Paula Reto 81-72--153 +9

76 Laura Coble 77-76--153 +9

76 Lindy Duncan 75-78--153 +9

76 Haley Sanders 76-77--153 +9

76 Alice Kim 75-78--153 +9

76 Eleana Collins 74-79--153 +9

76 Joanne Lee 76-77--153 +9

76 Casey Danielson 73-80--153 +9

87 Kristina Nhim 79-75--154 +10

87 Olivia Lansing 77-77--154 +10

87 Katelyn Dambaugh 81-73--154 +10

87 Yueer Cindy Feng 78-76--154 +10

87 Andrea Unson 75-79--154 +10

87 Heather Lott 77-77--154 +10

87 Brianna Espinoza 79-75--154 +10

87 Lilia Khatu Vu 78-76--154 +10

95 Michelle Lee 79-76--155 +11

95 Jackie Chang 76-79--155 +11

95 Elizabeth Wendt 77-78--155 +11

95 Jessica Wallace 78-77--155 +11

95 Kaitlin Drolson 78-77--155 +11

95 Christina Foster 79-76--155 +11

95 Alleman Zech 77-78--155 +11

95 Allie White 76-79--155 +11

95 Kaylee Imel 76-79--155 +11

95 Chelsea Pezzola 75-80--155 +11

105 Caroline Powers 77-79--156 +12

105 Lauren Greenlief 79-77--156 +12

105 Sun Gyoung Park 80-76--156 +12

105 Meredith Kotowski 78-78--156 +12

105 Shamira Marshall 75-81--156 +12

105 Desiree Dubreuil 76-80--156 +12

105 Brittany Marchand 80-76--156 +12

105 Sarah Elliot 75-81--156 +12

105 Kaira Martin 78-78--156 +12

114 Julia Thead 75-82--157 +13

114 Erica Omlid 78-79--157 +13

114 Kimberly Kaufman 79-78--157 +13

114 Amy Meier 77-80--157 +13

114 Catherine O'Donnell 78-79--157 +13

114 Lauren Kim 79-78--157 +13

120 Amber Hensley 76-82--158 +14

120 Jaye Marie Green 75-83--158 +14

120 Courtney Hooton 81-77--158 +14

120 Marissa Steen 77-81--158 +14

120 Samantha Formeck 77-81--158 +14

120 Nicole Agnello 81-77--158 +14

126 Martha Leach 78-81--159 +15

126 Stephanie Liu 82-77--159 +15

126 Ellen Port 78-81--159 +15

126 Taelor Rubin 81-78--159 +15

126 Mina Hardin 76-83--159 +15

126 Katie Lee 79-80--159 +15

132 Courtney Ellenbogen 77-83--160 +16

132 Milena Savich 82-78--160 +16

132 Kyndall Ardoin 78-82--160 +16

132 Ashleigh Albrecht 77-83--160 +16

132 Ya-Ting Yang 80-80--160 +16

137 Alison Lee 79-82--161 +17

137 Hannah Thomson 77-84--161 +17

139 Chelsea Mocio 81-81--162 +18

139 Taylore Karle 79-83--162 +18

139 Stephanie Simich 79-83--162 +18

139 Rikki Sobel 80-82--162 +18

143 Sarah Faller 80-83--163 +19

143 Casey Gee 81-82--163 +19

145 Samantha Sommers 79-85--164 +20

145 Susannah Grunden 79-85--164 +20

145 Kacie Komoto 83-81--164 +20

145 Natalie Reeves 86-78--164 +20

149 Ashley Smith 83-82--165 +21

149 Cassie Boles 81-84--165 +21

151 Jillian Fraccola 84-82--166 +22

151 Mckenzie Jackson 81-85--166 +22

151 Stephanie Y. Kim 84-82--166 +22

154 Sammi Sloan 86-81--167 +23

155 Carolyn Creekmore 85-86--171 +27

156 Caitlin Pisciotta 84-88--172 +28

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