Watch Danielle Kang get robbed of a slam-dunk ace while at the Gainbridge LPGA
Danielle Kang is on a roll. Just days after winning the LPGA Tour’s 2022 season opener, the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, she has taken the early lead at the Gainbridge LPGA. Her round included a near slam-dunk at the par-3 17th at Boca Rio Golf Club.
They could hear that pin rattle all over Florida. This shot is just a small sampling of a bigger trend in Kang's iron game: Kang was first in strokes gained/approach at the Tournament of Champions last week as she went on to claim her sixth career LPGA title. Denied the hole in one at No. 17, Kang rolled in the putt for birdie. It was one of eight birdies she had en route to her seven-under 65.
At day's end, Kang would trail just one golfer. Lydia Ko shot a bogey-free nine-under 63 to take the first-round lead, missing a five-footer for birdie on her last hole that would have tied the tournament record for low round shot by Madeline Sagestrom in 2020.
Kang, meanwhile, tried to offer some insight into the solid stretch of golf she's already displayed in 2022. “I don't really try and focus on momentum, whether you have to create it, or it's not there or there,” Kang said. “I played well last week. It's a new week. I still have things to work on. I still have things I need to focus on."
That doesn't mean she didn't take a little time to celebrate her latest win. After closing out the victory at Lake Nona in Orlando last Sunday, Kang took a golf trip on Tuesday to The Grove XXIII, Michael Jordan's course in South Florida. While there, she joined Wayne and Janet Gretzky, whom Kang has known for years when she grew up in Southern California. Sitting at a table in the clubhouse, Kang said she heard another memorable voice, that of Jordan himself saying: “Hey DK. Nice win!!”
“I’m just staring at him,” Kang said. “This is Michael Jordan. So cool.”