At last week’s LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, Danielle Kang stood over the ball for 4 minutes in Thursday’s first round, unable to pull the club back on a shot. She just couldn’t do it.
A week later, Kang notched her second-career LPGA win in China, winning the inaugural Buick LPGA Shanghai by two shots over seven players tied for second, including Lydia Ko, Sei Young Kim and Ariya Jutanugarn.
What a difference a week makes.
Kang, who won the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last summer for her breakthrough LPGA win, has been struggling with anxiety throughout the year. She’s been dealing with the issue, and it’s left her frustrated, befuddled and scared. But she’s fought through it the best she can.
“People might wonder what I’m doing. I actually can’t pull the trigger,” Kang said Sunday after her win on 13-under 275. “It has nothing to do with the result. Having to get over that last week was incredible for me.”
Things weren’t going the right way on the front nine on Sunday, and Kang looked to her caddie for permission to take out her frustration in an effort to hit the Reset button.
“After the ninth hole my caddie told me to step off to the side and he told me, ‘Whatever you need to do to let your anger out and restart and refresh, you need to do that now.’ I told him, I said, ‘Cameras are everywhere. I just want to hit the bag really hard. ‘He said, ‘Here’s a wedge. Just smash it,'” Kang relayed. “Honestly, I thank him for that. He told there are a lot birdies out there. I regrouped and we pretended we started the round brand new on the 10th hole. Then things change and momentum started going my way.”
Kang has dealt with so much mental anguish in the game, including overcoming several varieties of the yips. Perhaps a second win will help her attain more of her potential.
“More so than anything I’m finally at a place where I’m peaceful and happy with my game, with my life,” Kang said. “There is just so much more you can get through. I hope I win more; I did the best I can. I’m going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I’ll win more. I’ll play better.”