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Danielle Kang

Danielle Kang 2023: Early Life, Relationship, and Career

Danielle Grace Kang was born on October 20, 1992, in San Francisco. She is an American professional golfer who currently plays on the LPGA Tour. The golfer was quite a phenom in her amateur days, as she won the U.S. Women's Amateur twice, in 2010 and 2011.

Early Life, College, and Amateur Career

Kang grew up in Southern California. She studied at Oak Park High School but was later transferred to Westlake High School. She did college at Pepperdine University in Malibu in 2010. In 2007, she was 14 years old when she qualified for the US Women’s Open. Kang played junior golf extensively with the Southern California PGA Junior Tour alongside fellow SCPGA alumni such as Lizette Salas and Brianna Do.

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In her college days as well, Kang played on the Pepperdine golf team through the regular season in the spring of 2011. Though she was ruled academically ineligible to compete in the 2011 NCAA post-season, she stated that she was not disappointed because she wanted to focus on her future and wanted to turn pro after the US Women’s Amateur.

Kang won her first U.S. Women's Amateur in 2010, and afterwards, she competed in all four majors as an amateur in 2011. She made the cut in three of the majors. She repeated her US Open Amateur win in 2011 in August to become the first player in 15 years to win consecutive titles.

Professional Career

After turning professional, Kang competed in her first tournament in 2011. It was in September at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Although she entered the tournament on a sponsor's exemption, sadly, she missed the cut. The same year, she entered the 2011 LPGA Qualifying School, where she survived Stage II, shooting +5. Her score was just inside the cut line to qualify for the final stage. She finished the final stage of Q-School and tied for the 39th spot. She then earned conditional status on the LPGA Tour for 2012.

In 2012, she played 19 tournaments and made cuts in 13 of them. She earned a total of $239,184 that year and was in 52nd place on the official LPGA season-ending money list. After her success in 2012, she earned full-time status on the LPGA Tour.

For four years after turning full-time, she did not win any tournaments, but her career’s first win came at the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She then won the 2018 and 2019 Buick LPGA Shanghai tournaments. Next year, in 2020, Kang won the LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness Club in Ohio, which was the LPGA's first tournament back after a six-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One week later, Kang won her fifth LPGA Tour event at the Marathon Classic.

Kang won the 2020 Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the LPGA Tour. In 2022, Kang won the fifth title on the Tour at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Florida.

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In 2023, when she started her new season, she narrowly missed a rare back-to-back win when she lost to her longtime friend Lydia Ko at the Gainbridge LPGA at the Boca Rio tournament. The two were tied against each other at 12-under after the 14th hole in the fourth round when Ko made a birdie at the 15th to take the lead, and both birdied the 16th; then both parred the final two holes. She earned $184,255 to Ko's $300,000.

In 2022, at the end of the US Women’s Open in June, the golfer announced that she would be going on a hiatus from golf. She shared that she had a tumor in her spine that needed to be treated. She then returned to the sport in late August of the same year and competed in the CP Women’s Open.

Personal Life

Kang is of Korean-American descent and was born to South Korean parents, K.S. Kang and Grace Lee. Her father used to caddy for her before he passed away in 2013 due to cancer. She has a brother, whose name is Alex Kang. He played golf for San Diego State. Kang is unmarried, but she was in a relationship from 2018 to 2021. She started dating Maverick McNealy, who is also a professional golfer from Las Vegas. The duo dated for three years before calling it quits in 2021.

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Professional wins and best major finishes

1. LPGA Tour wins

YearTournamentWinning score
2017KPMG Women's PGA Championship−13
2018Buick LPGA Shanghai−13
2019Buick LPGA Shanghai−16
2020LPGA Drive On Championship−7
2020Marathon Classic−15
2022Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions−16

2. Best finishes in major tournaments

YearTournament Position
2017KPMG Women's PGA ChampionshipT1
2018Evian ChampionshipT18
2018US Women’s OpenT4
2019Chevron ChampionshipT6
2020Women’s British OpenT32