Kang, Song share lead in LPGA Drive On Championship

Kang, Song share lead in LPGA Drive On Championship

GREENSBORO, Ga. — Danielle Kang leads the Race to CME Globe and, at No. 5 in the world, is the top-ranked player in the LPGA Drive On Championship-Lake Reynolds Oconee. She showed why Thursday.

Kang shot a 7-under 65 for a share of the first-round lead with Jennifer Song.

“I think I know the golf course a little bit better,” Kang said. “I’ve only played it once technically so it’s still very new, but I just tried to work on some pace drills on the greens and figure out the type of grass around here. I feel good about today.”

The event is the second tournament added to the schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down women’s golf for five months. The other “Drive On” tournament was in Toledo, Ohio, in late July and marked the return. Kang won that event at Inverness and followed with a victory the next week in the LPGA Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio. She has five LPGA Tour victories after winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2010 and 2011.

“I think it’s just really exciting that the LPGA Drive On could happen during this break,” Kang said. “It’s been cool.”

Kang birdied three of the four par-5 holes in the bogey-free afternoon round on the Great Waters Course.

“To be honest, I made some putts today, which made me really happy,” Kang said.

Song closed with a birdie on the par-5 18th, her fifth in the final seven holes. The former University of Southern California player is winless on the LPGA Tour. In 2009, she swept the U.S. Women’s Amateur and Public Links.

“This course is really tough and, in the afternoon, the greens got really crusty, so there was a lot of calculation,” Song said. “The wind picked up a little bit, so it was kind of confusing, but I managed it pretty well. I’m really happy about 7-under par today. I didn’t think that was possible to shoot that score out there, but I had a great round.”

She played alongside Juli Inkster, the 60-year-old Hall of Famer who had a 77 in her third start of the year.

Ally McDonald made it three U.S. players at the top, shooting a bogey-free 66.

“Just playing really consistently. Ball-striking was really good,” McDonald said. “Managed to roll some putts in.”

Ariya Jutanugarn bogeyed the 18th in a 67. The 24-year-old Thai star won the last of her 10 LPGA Tour titles in the 2018 Ladies Scottish Open.

“Didn’t expect to shoot it low at all, because like soon as I saw the course, I feel like this course going to be tough,” Jutanugarn said. “We play pretty long and the green is pretty tough.”

American Lindsey Weaver also shot 67.

Hamilton’s Alena Sharp opened with a 2-under 70, while Calgary’s Jaclyn Lee fired an 8-over 80.

Pernilla Lindberg was at 68 with Bianca Pagdanganan and Marissa Steen. Mel Reid, the winner three weeks ago in New Jersey for her first LPGA Tour title, followed at 69. She played in a group with Kang and Stacy Lewis (70).

Minjee Lee, the Australian ranked No. 9 in the world, overcame a bad start to shoot 70. Lee bogeyed the first two holes, the second a par 5, and dropped another stroke on the par-5 sixth to fall to 3 over. She chipped in for birdie on the par-4 seventh, added another on the par-4 ninth and closed with two birdies in a back-nine 33.

“I knew I had quite a few opportunities to get it back on the back nine and even the end of the front nine,” Lee said. “I just pretty much tried my best, like I always do. Just tried not to give up and just try to making as many birdies as I could.”

Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko shot 71s, playing together in the morning. Thompson, at No. 10 the only other top-10 player in the field, birdied four of the last five, but also had a double bogey and three bogeys. Ko followed a triple bogey on the par-3 17th with a birdie on the 18th.

Jessica Korda had three bogeys in a 74.

The Associated Press

Golf

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The revised plans for the Dream Centre feature a two-storey renovated building. The centre launched a campaign Monday in hopes of raising more than a million to help with building renovation. (Contributed image).
Red Deer Dream Centre launches campaign, hopes to raise $1.4M

The Red Deer Dream Centre (RDDC) is hoping to raise $1.4 million… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced more than 1,500 active cases in Alberta Monday afternoon and five additional deaths. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Red Deer at 141 active cases

Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer area seniors facility pauses visits after staff tests positive for COVID

A Red Deer County seniors facility has put the breaks on visitors… Continue reading

.
Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Alberta confirmed 1,584 COVID-19 cases Sunday afternoon. The total active cases went… Continue reading

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses after responding to a question about the holidays during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau joins G20 in promising COVID-19 aid to poor nations, rejecting protectionism

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined leaders from the world’s 20… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death in Canada has raised the ire of the Canadian Psychiatric Association over the proposed law’s explicit rejection of mental illness as grounds for ending a patient’s life. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental illness in assisted dying-bill slammed by psychiatrists

OTTAWA — The federal bill revising the rules on medically assisted death… Continue reading

The Quebec flag is seen on the podium as Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet responds to a question during a news conference Wednesday June 3, 2020 in Ottawa. Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in Quebec have boiled over in the past week, with politicians seizing on a Liberal MP’s initial brush-off of the issue as evidence of indifference to a crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Angst around French language boils over in Quebec, as politicians warn of ‘decline’

MONTREAL — Perennial anxieties around the state of the French language in… Continue reading

Numuch Keitlah, left, and Jake Thomas, centre, participate in a Coastal Nations search and rescue exercise off the coast of Vancouver Island in this undated handout photo. The recently operational Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary has more than 50 members from five Indigenous territories who are trained in marine search and rescue. They are on call day and night to respond to emergencies along some of B.C.’s most rugged and remote coastal areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jordan Wilson *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Canada’s first Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary patrols B.C.’s rugged coast

VICTORIA — The winds were gusting at 110 kilometres per hour and… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has sponsored the VanVleet Court at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Ill. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Fred VanVleet signs four-year, US$85-million deal with Toronto Raptors

TORONTO — Fred VanVleet, one of the most coveted players in free… Continue reading

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
‘Hardship is not a new thing:’ Nunavut fights COVID-19 as cases continue to rise

IQALUIT — It has been just over two weeks since Nunavut declared… Continue reading

Pedestrians walk past Pfizer world headquarters in New York on Monday Nov. 9, 2020. Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials,<br>Two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have recently announced they're developed COVID-19 vaccines that are 95 per cent effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Bebeto Matthews
A long way from lab bench to bedside: Virus experts urge COVID-19 vaccine caution

Despite recent optimism over reported results from COVID-19 vaccine trials, virologists say… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Most Read