Danielle Kang wins Tournament of Champions for sixth career win
Danielle Kang carded a 4-under 68 on Sunday to win the Tournament of Champions at Orlando, Fla., by three strokes over Canada’s Brooke Henderson.
Kang finished at 16-under 272 while picking up her sixth career LPGA victory. The 29-year-old resident of Las Vegas fueled her victory with four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine.
Kang shot below 70 in all four rounds at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club.
“My mental game was really good,” Kang said. “I had a really good attitude all day today and yesterday. I know I left some putts out there, but I never let it get to me and I kept having to give myself birdie chances as much as possible.”
Henderson posted a 70 on Sunday, while Mexico’s Gaby Lopez shot even-par 72 to finish third at 12 under. France’s Celine Boutier (71) and world No. 1 Nelly Korda (75) tied for fourth at 10-under 278.
Kang was 1-under through 10 holes before going on her spree.
She posted a birdie on the 11th hole, made par at 12 and then knocked down three straight birdies to move to 17 under. Even a bogey on 16 didn’t hurt as Kang finished off the win.
“I feel great about a lot of the work that I’ve done,” Kang said. “I’m so thankful for my team. It takes a village to get here, so still feels a little bit surreal. Just trying to kind of take in the moment and go with the flow and see.”
Korda held the third-round lead but had a poor final round.
Korda had just one birdie while carding four bogeys. Her lone birdie on 15 pushed her to 12 under but there would be no late charge as she bogeyed each of the next two holes.
“I struck it pretty bad all week but my short game saved me, so that was nice,” Korda said. “Overall, you know, I didn’t play very good but I’m going to take some positives away from this week.”
Henderson had two birdies during a bogey-free round.
“Yeah, wasn’t really the day I was looking for,” Henderson said. “At the same time, you grind it out, and I was happy to make two birdies. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.
“… Danielle played amazing, so pretty cool to watch her go so far ahead of everybody else.”
Lopez was up and down with four birdies and four bogeys. She strung together three straight birdies on holes 5-7 but bogeyed three of the final six holes to fall out of contention.
“I’m ready for any challenge out there,” Lopez said. “I’m ready to press the gas pedal down. I’m ready to be in contention more often. I’m ready for winning championships. I feel that I probably couldn’t say this very confidently couple years ago, but now I do.”
Japan’s Yuka Saso (73 on Sunday) placed sixth at 9 under and Jessica Korda (72) finished seventh at 8-under 280. Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn (72) and South Korea’s Inbee Park (73) tied for eighth at 7 under.
The event included a division of 50 celebrities and amateurs using the Modified Stableford scoring format, and former major league pitcher Derek Lowe won that portion over LGPA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam. Lowe earned the triumph by sinking a long par putt on the first playoff hole.
Both Lowe and Sorenstam had 138 points through regulation. Sorenstam forced the playoff with a par putt on 18.
“It is honestly like one of the biggest events I’ve ever been part of or win,” said Lowe, who won the World Series with the 2004 Boston Red Sox. “To play against Annika Sorenstam, how many people can say that, in a playoff, and to prevail? It was a great day.”
–Field Level Media