Kang Wins Second Straight U.S. Women's Amateur Championship
Aug. 14, 2011
BARRINGTON, R.I. - Danielle Kang won her second consecutive U.S. Women's Amateur Championship on Sunday, beating Moriya Jutanugard of Thailand, 6 and 5, in the final. Kang, who spent 1 1/2 seasons at Pepperdine, is the 11th player to win repeat titles and the first since 1996.
"This is the best round I've played at a major championship," Kang told the USGA after her win. "I brought it on. I played really well last year, but I think I was a better player this year."
Kang (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Westlake HS) tied for 27th place with a 2-over 144 during the stroke play portion of the tournament at the Rhode Island Country Club. The majority of her match-play victories came in easy fashion, with scores of 3 & 2, 6 & 4, 2 & 1, 4 & 3 and 1-up during 18-hole competitions. Sunday's final was 36 holes.
Kang now plans on turning professional, telling the USGA: "Every time an amateur decides to turn pro, they always think, am I ready? That's what they ask themselves. Now I know that I am and I have to go to the next level. Whether I'm a top player there or not, it's somewhere to start after this position. So hopefully I improve more and I'll be at the top level of the LPGA."
Kang, who graduated early from high school in order to enroll at Pepperdine in January 2010, earned Golfweek All-American second team honors both of her seasons at Pepperdine. She ranked #14 nationally in the final Golfweek/Sagarin index following the 2010-11 season, and her sophomore-year scoring average of 72.42 ranks second on Pepperdine's single-season records list. She had a career stroke average of 72.81 in 13 tournaments and 37 rounds with the Waves. Unfortunately, however, she was declared academically ineligible and missed out on the Waves' postseason in 2011.
During the U.S. Amateur, Kang told Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry that "her experiences in Malibu forced her to `grow up as a person, big-time,'" and that "I'm really glad I went early. I made a lot of mistakes there that I regret, but it's already happened."
Said Pepperdine Coach Laurie Gibbs: "I am very proud of Danielle. She has experienced so much the last 12 months between winning the 2010 and 2011 U.S. Women's Amateur Championships. Still only 18 years old, she has been challenged and always represented herself, Pepperdine and the United States with class at tournaments around the world. She will enjoy a successful professional career on the LPGA Tour."
Kang played in all four LPGA majors during the 2011 season as an amateur, highlighted by a tie for 49th place at the Women's British Open and a tie for 50th place at the LPGA Championship.