SHOAL CREEK, Ala. – Danielle Kang isn’t shy about asking for help. At Pinehurst in 2014, she consulted Dustin Johnson. At the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, an overwhelmed Kang sent older brother Alex, who had played Olympia Fields in college, 10 photos of the course and together they developed a strategy. Kang, of course, went on to win her first LPGA event that week.
For Shoal Creek, Kang gave Birmingham, Ala., native Trey Mullinax a call. Mullinax had planned to walk Shoal Creek with Kang at this week’s U.S. Women’s Open, that is until he got into this week’s Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour.
“He walked me through the whole golf course from 1 to 18 on the phone,” said Kang, who played nine holes on Monday and nine on Wednesday.
Kang opened with a 3-under 69 in her ninth start at this championship. Should she continue to have success this week, Kang will have to give Alex some of the credit.
“Funnily enough, my brother actually made me practice mud balls when I was younger,” said Danielle, who said the memories from when she was 15 years old helped give her a sense of calm.
While many players came out to the course late Tuesday afternoon once practice facilities opened, Kang went to see “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” She even went to a museum. On Wednesday, Kang slept in until 10 a.m. and rolled out for a late nine holes.
The extra rest came in handy given that she had roughly five hours of sleep before Thursday’s 4:15 a.m. wakeup call.
As for Mullinax’s advice …
“I definitely went into some places he told me not to go to,” said Kang. “It definitely helped staying on the left side. He’s like, don’t go there, and I definitely went there. It happened three or four times, but it’s OK, I saved it.”