Kang sizzles in the spotlight

By Randall MellAugust 19, 2017, 1:42 am

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Drum majors don’t high-step into college football stadiums with more bravado.

As bold entrances in golf go, Danielle Kang’s is hard to top.

The first tee at the Solheim Cup is famous for twisting the insides of the sturdiest champions. The tension is supposed to be something short of paralyzing, the pressure suffocating.

Yeah, right.

Kang strutted through the tunnel to the first tee Friday as if some marching band was right behind her.

She came to have fun, and, wow, did she ever.

Kang owned her moment, her first time stepping onto this stage as a Solheim Cup rookie, and then she went on to own the Europeans.

Kang strutted, fist-pumped and high-fived her way through morning foursomes and afternoon fourballs, going 2-0 to help the United States take a commanding 5½-to-2½ lead on Day 1 at Des Moines Golf and Country Club. It equals the largest Day 1 lead in the history of these matches.

“I did not feel overwhelmed at all,” Kang said. “I love it. Seriously, I really love it.”

Kang teamed with Lizette Salas to defeat Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson, 1 up, in foursomes. Kang buried an 8-foot putt for par at the last to secure the victory.

Kang partnered with Michelle Wie in fourballs to defeat Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Madelene Sagstrom, 3 and 1.

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Kang made one big putt after another in the afternoon to help the Americans win all four fourball matches, giving the United States its first sweep of a session in the history of the Solheim Cup.

Salas wasn’t surprised at how Kang took to the atmosphere.

“Danielle will agree with me on this, but she loves to be the center of attention,” Salas said. “She brings a fiery attitude to the Solheim Cup, which is great. She’s just meant for this. She loves it.”


“Like Michelle Wie says, I'm a princess,” Kang said. “I like the attention. I love the vibe. I want that crowd. That’s what we play for. I don't think it's just me. It’s what we all play for. It’s just magical, basically. I absolutely love it.”

What a day, what a summer for Kang.

The two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champ endured six frustrating years before breaking through to win her first LPGA title, and she did it in a big way. She made it a major this summer. She won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June.

And now this.

Kang’s entrance Friday set the tone for her big day.

She was fearless from the start.

At the first tee, with the patriotic celebrations and boisterous chanting engulfing her, Kang fed off it.

Playing in the second match off, Kang didn’t defer to Salas in the alternate-shot format. Kang hit the first tee shot.

“We talked about who would play the odd holes and who would play the even holes, and it just set up for Lizette to play the even holes,” Kang said. “But if anything, I wanted to hit the first shot.”

Before Kang did so, however, she sauntered around the tee box with a hand to her ear, beckoning the crowd to make more noise.

U.S. captain Juli Inkster watched in mild amusement.

“I was like, `OK, here we go,’” Inkster said. “I was a little nervous with her pumping up the crowd, but that’s her.”

Lining up behind her teed ball, Kang stepped off and waved her arms again, beckoning one more time for noise.

And then she striped her first drive down the middle.

“I don't think I planned any of it,” Kang said. “I like the roars. I like the noise.”

Kang said earlier in the week that she wanted the Iowa crowds so loud that she couldn’t hear her own caddie.

“I wasn't kidding when I said I want it to be so loud that I can't hear people,” Kang said. “I just feed off of the high energy. I'm a very upbeat person. So the mellow golf doesn't really fit me very well.”

Kang and Salas made their morning victory dramatic. They were 2 up before they three-putted the 17th hole.

Inkster said that only added to Kang’s fun.

“That’s where Danielle said to Lizette, `This only means more TV air time for us,’” Inkster said.

It set up Kang to bury that winning putt from 8 feet at the last.

“Danielle was amazing,” Inkster said. “Every time she had a 4- or 5-footer, she put it right in the heart. She told me she was going to play well. It’s better when you back it up.”

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.