Kang makes first LPGA title a major with Women's PGA win

CHICAGO: American Danielle Kang birdied the par-5 18th hole Sunday to edge defending champion Brooke Henderson and win the Women's PGA Championship, making her first LPGA triumph a major victory.

Kang, who never managed a top-10 finish in 30 prior major starts, fired a three-under par 68 to finish 72 holes at Olympia Fields near Chicago on 13-under 271, edging Canadian teen star Henderson by one stroke.

South Koreans took the next four spots with Chella Choi third on 274 after a closing 71. Lee Mi-Hyang, Amy Yang and Kim Sei-Young shared fourth on 275 with South Korean Park In-Bee and American Lexi Thompson sharing seventh on 277.

Kang, a 24-year-old from San Francisco, is a two-time US Women's Amateur champion whose best prior LPGA finish had been a third-place effort in 2013. Her best major showing had been a share of 14th at the 2012 US Women's Open.

After a birdie at the par-4 second, Kang took a bogey at the third, then began the back nine with another bogey.

But from there she ran off four birdies in a row starting at the par-4 11th to seize a three-stroke lead on 13-under.

Henderson, a 19-year-old coming off a victory two weeks ago at the Meijer LPGA Classic, birdied the par-5 first and par-3 fourth and seventh holes to reach 10-under, then stayed steady with nine consecutive birdies.

Three down with two holes to play, Henderson closed with back-to-back birdies at the par-3 17th and had an eagle putt stop rolling just short of the cup at 18 to finish on 272.

Kang, meanwhile, took a bogey at 17 to fall back into a tie for the lead, only to finish with a birdie to claim her long-sought first title after playing her first LPGA event in 2011.

Choi, also seeking her first major crown, fired a 71 but could not join the title fight at the finish. The 26-year-old from Daegu won her only LPGA crown at the 2015 Marathon Classic. Her best prior finish in any major was a share of fifth at this event in 2013. — AFP