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Kang hopes for more consistency on 2022 LPGA Tour

It’s been a month since the LPGA Tour season wrapped up. It’s still another month before the 2022 campaign fires up again.

But don’t expect Danielle Kang to spend the offseason chilling out with her feet up on the couch in her Las Vegas home.

“I don’t really put my clubs down,” she said during the final event of 2021, the CME Tour Championship. “I think more so than anything, my offseason is getting my fitness and nutrition back into rhythm, being able to do the techniques that I practice.”

She’ll put in work with her coach, Butch Harmon, but you won’t find her out on the course just for fun. Golf is her job, and she treats it that way.

“To be quite frank, I don’t enjoy playing recreationally,” she said. “I don’t really like to play for fun. I love competition. I like being able to score what I did, didn’t do well, and be better and try and work toward a goal. Golf is stressful enough that I really don’t want to play for fun.”

Offseason work will be particularly key this year for Kang, who is coming off her first winless year since 2016. That’s not to say 2021 was a bust.

Kang had nine top-10 finishes — including a playoff loss to Jessica Korda in the season opener — which was the fourth-best total on tour. She finished 10th in scoring average at 69.8, and 18th on the money list.

Kang also finishes the year 11th in the world rankings, the second-ranked American player behind world No. 1 Nelly Korda.

Kang also fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing in the Olympics, was a member of her fourth Solheim Cup team, and played unofficial host for the tour’s newest event, the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play at her home course in Las Vegas, Shadow Creek.

“I really love golf. I used to not, but I have learned to love the game in the last few years. I am obsessed with it,” she said. “I’m trying to figure out a way to fail better at this point because I fail every day. I’m trying to figure it out, and I can’t figure out this game. I don’t know who has, but — actually I think Nelly has.”

Kang said consistency is at the top of her list for 2022. She felt tired a lot during 2021 with a demanding schedule made harder by both the pandemic and adding a trip to Tokyo for the Olympics and the Solheim Cup right in the heart of an already busy season.

“I am a habitual creature. I go home, I have workouts set, I have the gym set, I have the physio,” she said, but noted as soon as she’s back on the road “it’s all haywire. I don’t have my set routines. So I’m trying to figure out a way if I can make that tour life as stable as possible.”

Kang knows whatever she does in 2022, the stress that comes with playing and contending will not go away. And she’s just fine with that.

“It’s weird. I like the stress. I like it because it’s my job and something I do and love to do,” she said.

Chip Shots

Two members of the women’s golf team were among 24 UNLV athletes to graduate last week at the school’s annual winter commencement. Sammy Fuller (Communications) and Luka van der Merwe (Hospitality) both picked up their bachelor’s degrees.

Last month’s Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation charity tournament netted more than $122,000. Organizers sent a check for $110,00 to foundation headquarters in New York, allowing the local group to surpass $2 million in contributions over the past 15 years The group raises money primarily for scholarships for children of fallen Marines or law enforcement.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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