Danielle Kang is U.S. Women’s Amateur champ

Danielle Kang

BARRINGTON, R.I. (AP) — Danielle Kang became the first player in 15 years to successfully defend the U.S. Women’s Amateur title, beating Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn 6 and 5 last Sunday, Aug. 14, in the 36-hole final in rainy and windy conditions at Rhode Island Country Club.

Kang, the 18-year-old from Westlake Village, Calif., had a 4-up lead after 18 holes and finished off Jutanugarn with a par on the par-4 13th.

“I feel great,” said Kang, who had 11 birdies — three conceded — and one bogey in 31 holes. “I played the best round I’ve played at a major championship. I played well last year, but not this well.”

Kang, who plans to turn pro, won last year at Charlotte Country Club in North Carolina. Kelli Kuehne was the last player to win two straight years, accomplishing the feat in 1995 and 1996.

The 17-year-old Jutanugarn was the low amateur last month in the U.S. Women’s Open.

“I played OK, but she made a lot of birdies,” Jutanugarn said.

Her 15-year-old sister, Ariya, her caddie, won the U.S. Girls’ Junior two weeks ago.

They were trying to become the first family members to claim two USGA titles in the same year. ♦

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