Danielle Kang is excited by her first title defence in seven years as she bids to secure back-to-back KPMG Women’s PGA Championships.
The 25-year-old made her major breakthrough 12 months ago when she birdied the first play-off hole to win at Olympia Fields.
It is her only professional win to date, coming on her 144th LPGA start, and the experience of defending a title is unfamiliar as the last time she did so was in the 2011 US Women’s Amateur.
“I haven’t had something to defend since the US Amateur and I’m just really excited to be back in this position,” said Kang. “It’s like ‘Oh, I can go for back-to-back’ and when I had that feeling when I won the first US Am the only thing I wanted to do was win that second one.
“I really like that feeling. I’ve just been looking forward to this event for the whole year, and I’m here.”
The task at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Chicago has not got any easier with 10 of the last 11 majors having been won by different players.
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Inbee Park was the last to successfully defend one of women’s golf’s premier events, the 2015 PGA Championship, while Lydia Ko is the last to win successive major titles with her ANA Inspiration victory in 2016.
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn claimed her second major win with victory at the US Women’s Open earlier this month and the Thai admits she is in a good place, having made the cut in all 17 events this year and recording 10 top-10 finishes.
“I want to be a happy golfer. I want to really enjoy myself with every moment in my life,” said the 22-year-old.
“Before I always had fun and been happy but especially my position right now, because everybody keeps thinking about the outcome and talking about how good you are.
“I have to be able to ignore that because my goal is not only finish top-10 but to improve myself every day.”