Kang caps birthday with second Shanghai win

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Danielle Kang capped her 27th birthday with a nail-biting one-stroke win at the Buick LPGA Shanghai yesterday, fending off fellow American Jessica Korda for her second victory at the tournament.

Korda was the overnight frontrunner at 15 under, with the defending champion trailing by one in the second edition of the USD2.1 million event.

Both had finished the penultimate day six under par after Kang rallied from twin bogeys on the first two holes.

But a bogey for Korda and a birdie for Kang flipped the lead on the first hole, with the defending champion’s commanding short game keeping her ahead for most of the day.

“It was a really stressful day but I definitely really played well out there,” said Kang, who said she had “never been more nervous” than during her final stroke on the 18th.

Korda’s superior driving drew her level twice, but a narrow miss on the green of the 11th notched her third bogey and she trailed for the rest of the round.

“It was just one of those days where it just wasn’t meant to be, I guess,” said Korda.

“If you were going to tell me at the start of the week I would’ve come out finishing second, play in the final group, and had the week I did I would’ve probably taken it.”

Kang played solidly through the day to finish 16 under for the tournament with two birdies, dodging trouble on the 11th with a masterful recovery from the bunker with her second stroke.

It was Kang’s third professional tournament win after last year’s Shanghai victory and the 2017 Women’s PGA Championship at Olympia Fields in Illinois.