Kang turns sup­port into a tie with Choi

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - WEATHER REPORT -

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. — Danielle Kang got a text mes­sage from Wayne Gret­zky on Satur­day morn­ing. Cait­lyn Jenner called Fri­day, and four­time ma­jor win­ner Hol­lis Stacy also reached out.

Lots of high-profile sup­port for Kang as she goes for her first ma­jor cham­pi­onship.

Kang, 24, and Chella Choi shared the lead head­ing into the fi­nal round of the Women’s PGA Cham­pi­onship. Kang won the U.S. Women’s Am­a­teur in 2010 in 2011, but she has never won an LPGA Tour tour­na­ment.

“It would be in­cred­i­ble to be called a ma­jor cham­pion, es­pe­cially out on this tour,” Kang said.

She got a boost be­fore her af­ter­noon tee time when Gret­zky, like Jenner a friend from her days at Sher­wood Coun­try Club in Cal­i­for­nia, passed along a sim­ple mes­sage.

“He said, ‘Just go win it,’” Kang re­called. “And you know, I was like, ‘It’s third round.’ And I was like, ‘Thank you, Wayne.’ And he’s like, ‘You just go, get it done.’ Cait­lyn Jenner called me yes­ter­day. I have a lot of peo­ple just be­yond that, just call­ing me up and en­cour­ag­ing me to just keep play­ing my game and that they are root­ing for me. I love it.”

While sev­eral of the LPGA’s big­gest stars chal­lenged for the lead, it was Kang and Choi on top af­ter a chal­leng­ing day at an in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult Olympia Fields. Choi, 26, hit 11 of 14 fair­ways on her way to a bo­gey-free 67.

Kang birdied the par-5 18th for a 68, join­ing Choi at 10 un­der and set­ting up an un­likely fi­nal pair­ing for the fourth round.

“I feel very good right now,” Choi said. “My shot and my putting, very good be­fore last cou­ple weeks. So I have a con­fi­dence and, you know, like my fa­ther’s come back to here, so I’m very ex­cited to work with my dad and he give me a lot of con­fi­dence.”

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