On the final round of the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA, Danielle Kang surpassed defending champion Brooke Henderson to capture her first LPGA Tour title at Olympia Fields.
The two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur winner was simply sensational on Sunday, playing her career best golf at Olympia Fields. She closed with a 68 to finish at 13-under-par 271 for a one-stroke victory.
What made it even more impressive is that she held off a hard-charging Brooke Henderson, who won this tournament last year at the tender age of 18 and closed birdie-birdie in this final round to apply the kind of pressure that has crumbled more than one professional. But Kang had no crumble in her.
Kang bogeyed the tricky par-3 17th, and Henderson closed with two birdies to move into a tie for the lead, coming up just short on a 30-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th. But Kang responded with two solid shots to get to the green in two and then two-putted for the victory.
Chella Choi, who started the final round tied with Kang at 10 under par, three strokes ahead of Henderson, closed with a 71 to finish third at 274. Amy Yang picked up her 16th top-10 in a major without a win, finishing T-4 at 275 along with Mi Hyang Lee and Sei Young Kim. Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson were T-7 at 277.
Kang, 24, is a sixth-year pro out of Pepperdine with a dazzling amateur career. She qualified for the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open as a 14-year-old, won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2010 and 2011 as well as capturing the prestigious North and South Championship in 2011. But she was winless on the LPGA and her best finish in an LPGA major was T-14 at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. Now, it seems, the door may be open to bigger things.