De­fend­ing cham­pion Brooke Hen­der­son fin­ishes in 2nd place

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Jay Cohen

OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILL.» From a young age, Danielle Kang’s par­ents in­stilled in her the be­lief that any­thing was pos­si­ble. Even ma­jor championships.

Kang birdied the fi­nal hole to win the Women’s PGA Cham­pi­onship on Sun­day for her first LPGA Tour ti­tle, edg­ing de­fend­ing cham­pion Brooke Hen­der­son.

Kang bo­geyed the tricky par-3 17th, and Hen­der­son closed with two birdies to move into a tie for the lead, com­ing up just short on a 30-foot ea­gle putt on the par-5 18th. But Kang re­sponded with two solid shots to get to the green in two, and then two-putted for the vic­tory.

“I just told my­self it was my week. It was my day,” Kang said.

Kang lost her fa­ther, K.S., to can­cer in 2013, but her mother, Grace Lee, was one of the first peo­ple to con­grat­u­late her on the vic­tory. Kang also face-timed with brother Alex, an in­stru­men­tal fig­ure in her per­for­mance at Olympia Fields, af­ter the tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tion.

Kang’s fa­ther cad­died for her when she won the U.S. Women’s Am­a­teur in 2010 and 2011. She keeps a journal where she writes mes­sages to her fa­ther.

“If I could wish any­thing, I would wish that my dad saw me won,” said Kang, wip­ing tears from her eyes. “I think that it’s been a re­ally dif­fi­cult road for me the past four or five years. It’s life, though, you pick your­self up and you have to keep work­ing hard at it, and then be­lieve in what you’re do­ing, and not let­ting your­self down.

“I just know that he’s here for it. What are the odds that my first win is a ma­jor? Pretty sure he had some­thing to do with it. It’s just in­cred­i­ble. But I know that he was there, be­cause I felt — I felt him with me ev­ery day, and I still do.”

It was an­other great fin­ish for the LPGA Tour’s sec­ond ma­jor of the sea­son. Hen­der­son beat Ly­dia Ko in a play­off last year at Sa­halee in Wash­ing­ton.

The 24-year-old Kang trailed Hen­der­son and Chella Choi by one af­ter she bo­geyed the par-4 10th. But Kang moved in front with four straight birdies on Nos. 11-14, get­ting hot with her put­ter at the right time.

Kang also had a clutch 21-foot par putt at 16 on her way to a 4-un­der 68 and the win­ner’s check of $525,000. Her pre­vi­ous best fin­ish in a ma­jor was a tie for 14th in the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open.

Hen­der­son closed with a 66 to fin­ish a stroke back. Choi, who was tied with Kang for the lead com­ing into the day, was third at 10 un­der af­ter a 71.

“Re­ally, she won this, and I was just try­ing to make it closer and maybe force a play­off but, I played great and I wouldn’t re­ally take any­thing back,” Hen­der­son said.

Mi Hyang Lee (67), Amy Yang (68) and Sei Young Kim (68) tied for fourth at 9 un­der, and Lexi Thomp­son (69) and In­bee Park (68) were an­other two strokes back.

Kang’s first vic­tory in her 144th LPGA start was a pop­u­lar one in some high-pro­file cir­cles. Michelle Wie, one of Kang’s clos­est friends on tour, fol­lowed her around right af­ter the win. Dustin John­son texted, “That’s how you’re sup­posed to play, con­grats.”

Perry wins Se­nior Open by two strokes.

PE­ABODY, MASS.» Kenny Perry claimed his sec­ond U.S. Se­nior Open, pulling away from Kirk Triplett at Salem Coun­try Club to fin­ish at 16-un­der and win by two strokes.

The 56-year-old Perry closed with a 2-un­der 68 for a record score of 264. It is his fourth ma­jor vic­tory on the se­nior tour.

Perry started the day a stroke be­hind Triplett but five ahead of the next-clos­est con­tender, Brandt Jobe. Triplett, who tied the tour­na­ment record with a 62 in the open­ing round, had five bo­geys Sun­day and shot 71.

Jobe had a 70 to fin­ish seven strokes back. Tom Lehman and Fred Cou­ples each shot 69 to tie for fourth at 8-un­der.

Perry’s 264 to­tal was three strokes bet­ter than the U.S. Se­nior Open record set by Hale Ir­win at Sau­con Val­ley in 2000 and matched by Perry in 2013.

Emo­tional Stan­ley wins Quicken Loans.

PO­TOMAC, MD.» Kyle Stan­ley got up-and­down for par from just over the 18th green to win the Quicken Loans Na­tional on the first play­off hole with Charles How­ell III.

On a chaotic fi­nal day at TPC Po­tomac that in­cluded a 5-minute de­lay for a pop-up storm, Stan­ley and How­ell fin­ished at 7-un­der 273 af­ter match­ing fi­nal-round 4-un­der 66s. How­ell had a 21-foot putt to win on the fi­nal hole of reg­u­la­tion that rolled over the left edge of the cup.

In the play­off, both missed the fair­way and the green. How­ell’s chip came up short and he missed the 11-foot par putt. Stan­ley chipped to 5 feet and pumped his fist as the putt dropped.

It was the sec­ond ca­reer vic­tory for Stan­ley.

Charles Rex Arbogast, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Danielle Kang, right, re­ceives a kiss from her mom, Grace Lee, as Kang holds the cham­pi­onship tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Women’s PGA Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment Sun­day at Olympia Fields Coun­try Club.

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