Danielle Kang wins at Inverness in LPGA return to golf

Danielle Kang wins at Inverness in LPGA return to golf

TOLEDO, Ohio — Danielle Kang was away from the LPGA Tour for six months during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is not to suggest she was without competition.

She lost track of the games she played with her brother, Alex, who has spent two seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour, and boyfriend Maverick McNealy, in his rookie year on the PGA Tour. She played the back tees and forward tees, moved about to different courses in Las Vegas and felt her game improving.

It paid off Sunday when Kang closed with a 2-under 70 and held on for a one-shot victory over Celine Boutier in the LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness, the first LPGA Tour event since February.

“I made sure I played golf as much as I did normally, not because I had to but because I wanted to,” Kang said. “I’m so thankful for the time. I tried to make the best of it. We had all the time in the world. Golf courses were open in Nevada. I didn’t have to rush and cram for a test. I’m proud of the work I was able to do.”

She played a brand of steady golf that wins on tough golf courses, an Inverness was all of that. Only five players finished under par in rapidly changing conditions.

Kang and Boutier, who closed with a 71, turned the final hour into a duel. Boutier hit the pin with her tee shot on the par-3 12th for birdie to get within two shots, Kang made her only bogey on the par-5 13th with a soft chip, and Boutier rolled in an 8-foot birdie on the 14th to tie for the lead.

But it was Boutier who blinked. She missed a short par putt on the 15th hole to fall one shot behind, and then stuffed her approach to 4 feet below the hole on the 18th. Instead of a playoff, however, Boutier made a tentative stroke on a tricky putt and the ball caught the left edge of the cup and spun away.

Kang, the No. 4 player in the women’s world ranking, won for the fourth time in her career. It was her first LPGA competitoin since Jan. 23 in Florida. She did not go to Australia, and then the COVID-19 pandemic halted play on the Asian swing and then on through the summer.

She has won in each of her last four seasons, starting with the Women’s PGA Championship in 2017.

Inverness hosted the one-time event, and both contenders are likely to be back next summer when the storied club hosts the Solheim Cup. The LPGA Tour stays in northeast Ohio next week for the Marathon Classic.

Kang finished at 7-under 209.

Hamilton’s Alena Sharp had a strong weekend after opening with a 78, shooting 69-72 to finish in a tie for 20th at 3 over.

Minjee Lee of Australia shot 70 and finished alone in third, three shots behind. She was followed by Yui Kawamoto of Japan, who shot a 72, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England, who faltered later for a 75.

Ewart Shadoff, still searching for her first LPGA Tour victory, was three shots behind on the back nine until she went bogey-bogey-double bogey through the 15th hole, and finished with a birdie when it was too late.

It helped that the leaders were in the final group and knew where they stood. Kang wanted to be sure after the 15th, however, so she took her mobile phone from the bag to check the scores. That was allowed because there were no scoreboards anywhere on the course.

Her aggressive attitude never changed. Even after the bogey on the 13th dropped her to 7 under, Kang said she set a target of finishing at 10 under. She didn’t make another birdie. She didn’t have to.

Nelly Korda, at No. 2 the highest-ranked player in the field, tied for 40th.

Several top players from South Korea played their home tour this week, including Jin Young Ko and Sung Hyun Park. It is not clear if they will travel to Scotland for the Women’s British Open.

The Associated Press

Golf

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake Municipal Library going waste free with new program

The Zero Waste DIY program begins on Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. on Zoom

COVID-19: Active cases in central zone up Tuesday

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

PHOTOS: Eckville graduates receive their diplomas, finally

Eckville Jr./Sr. High School held a socially distanced grad over the weekend

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Gord Bamford serenades Sylvan Lake at sold out concert

Gord Bamford played for a sold out crowd at a drive-in concert Sept. 19 in Sylvan Lake

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Grand jury indicts police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment

Missionary plane dedicated at Ponoka, Lacombe airports

MiracleAir flies humanitarian missions to Nicaragua

RCMP investigating after far-right groups disrupt anti-racism rally in Alberta

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said she respects the right of peaceful assembly, but denounces racism and violence

Refresh of Liberal government’s agenda comes amid new looming COVID-19 crisis

Lockdowns saw fed spending soar to historic levels in effort to offset pandemic’s blow to Canadians’ livelihoods

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

RCMP say body located of man who fell in river during stop for photos in Banff

Parks Canada has said the man was from India and living in Canada on a work visa

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Most Read