Danielle Kang fired the best round of the field on Sunday. – a four-under 68 – to return to the winner’s enclosure at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.
Unlike the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Lake Nona Golf and Country Club provided a stern test for the best of the women’s game and it was Kang who came out on top courtesy of five birdies in a seven hole stretch from the ninth on Sunday that separated herself from the field.
The American’s 16-under par tally proved good enough for a three-shot win from Canadian Brooke Henderson with Kang banking $225,000 and a whole bundle of confidence first time out the gate in 2022.
“My mental game was really good,” said Kang
“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.”
Kang was the only player to break 70 on both days over the weekend and also the sole player to break 70 all four days – confirmation that her work over the off-season has paid dividends with Kang returning to her strength of mind that saw her turn the corner having struggled for much of last year.
“It feels really peaceful actually,” she said. “I feel peaceful today. I don’t feel super excited. I don’t feel unbelievably thrilled. I just feel like nice [smiling].
“The work that I put in, everyone keeps bringing it back to last year. It was a tough year for me. It was a bad year for me. I fought through, but for the last seven, eight weeks I just dropped the fight. I didn’t need to fight anymore. It was a new year.
“I was just trying to gain weight, trying to change my nutrition, change the way I approach the golf game, more so than be so caught up in the way I felt and how I felt and what I’m going to do and what if I didn’t do it.”
“I think it’s more special because a lot of stuff that I did during the off-season, it was really hard. I mean, I’ve actually gained nine pounds, so I worked really hard to gain that weight.
“I feel really good. I don’t feel injured, tired. Those are the things that I worked on doing, a lot of different types of analysis and people helping me out. I have a great team back home. They’re probably not going to listen to this, but Nicole is my nutritionist, I got my mental coach, I got Duncan with my strengthening, Heather with my physio.
“It’s just nonstop with all these group of people building and helping me better, like create better footing. So those are the things that it’s hard to do, so I’m just more proud of myself that I actually did it.”
- Full scoring HERE