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In-form Kang full of confidence


American hoping to maintain superb run

Danielle Kang on Tuesday at Royal Troon

Many players will be confident of contending for glory at the AIG Women’s Open, but nobody can boast better form than Danielle Kang in the lead up to the Championship.

Kang has been consistently outstanding since the resumption of the LPGA Tour season, winning successive events in the United States before finishing tied fifth – one shot short of a play-off – at last week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

As a result, the winner of the 2017 Women’s PGA Championship is in buoyant mood as she looks to claim the second major title of her career at Royal Troon.

“I am really excited,” said Kang in a news conference on Tuesday. “I think I’ve had a pretty good run up to this date.

“Coming back out and actually performing the way I did, and being able to trust my game and get back into the rhythm has helped my confidence. I’m pretty happy about the results.”

While she came up narrowly short of recording a third successive win last week, Kang was encouraged by her best-ever finish on a links course.

“I hit the ball so well, and I think that has set me up for this week,” she added. “I got a good feel for links golf, the bounces and the rolls that we are going to get.

“It’s a bit different to this week. We had really great weather for four days last week. But I think I hit the ball quite well and went around the golf course pretty well. I’m really proud of how I took on links golf in general because my results in links golf haven’t been great, so fifth is my highest finish.”

Danielle Kang tees off in a practice round at Royal Troon

With strong winds forecast for the opening two rounds, Kang knows adapting to the conditions and avoiding Troon’s 97 bunkers will be key.

“I am ready. You’re just going to have to take whatever it (the weather) gives you,” said the world number two. “I just got all the laundry done. I have the rain gear ready, towels ready. I’m just really excited to tee it up on Thursday.

“I’ve been working on a lot of flighted wood shots and with the winds I think those are going to be crucial, because the pot bunkers in the fairway are very penalising.

“It’s just going to be (a case of) leaving yourself the proper shots and missing the right way if you’re going to have a miss. I think knowing your misses and knowing the golf course is going to be a big help.”

With that in mind, Kang went to significant lengths to learn more about Troon before arriving for the AIG Women’s Open.

“I watched on Apple Maps, 3D, zoomed in. I went through the holes and where the bunkers were,” she explained. “I did the golf course research on Google. You can kind of map out and figure out how the golf course is going to play.

“All in all, you’re just going to have to come out here and just execute your shots. You have to kind of really feel out the golf course and I think that’s going to be the beauty of it.”