January 17, 2020
Danielle Kang fired an 8-under-par 63 on Thursday and holds the first-round lead by two shots at the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Angela Stanford, Mexico’s Gaby Lopez and South Korea’s Inbee Park share second place at 65.
Kang recorded nine birdies and had one bogey during her round. She hit 11 of 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens and only needed 26 putts during the strong showing at the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando.
“To shoot 8 under, every aspect of the game has to kind of click in,” Kang said after her round. “Hit pretty good drives out there. My wedges were good, rolled in some putts, definitely missed some putts. I saved a couple of the shots that I needed to.”
Kang, a three-time LPGA Tour winner, sits fourth in the world rankings.
The second-place trio all shot bogey-free rounds while carding six birdies.
The opening-round effort was pleasing to Stanford, who missed the cut in 10 of 22 events in 2019.
“I feel like I’ve worked pretty hard this offseason. It’s nice to see that result right off the bat,” Stanford said. “It’s golf. I understand it’s not always going to be like that, but out there today, it felt good just to know you’ve put in a few hours and it’s paying off early.”
Park needed just 25 putts to make it around the course, a development much to her liking.
“Last year I was a little bit disappointed with the putter,” Park said. “I hit the ball close a lot of times, but I wasn’t able to make enough birdies.
“I’m just really happy with how I started today. Hopefully, I can keep that consistency going for the next three days.”
A group of five golfers shot 66, including Lexi Thompson and Marina Alex. The others were Celine Boutier of France, Sei Young Kim of South Korea and Nasa Hataoka of Japan.
Defending champ Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea shot a 3-over 74 and is in 25th place. She had one birdie and four bogeys.
Brittany Lincicome appeared in her first event since giving birth six months ago and shot even-par 71. She is tied for 22nd.
The field is made up of 26 LPGA winners from 2018 and 2019.
–Field Level Media