OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) – Danielle Kang won back-to-back majors as an amateur yet she’s never cracked the winner’s circle in her half-dozen years as a pro.
The 24-year-old Californian took a big step in the right direction, grabbing a share of the second-round lead in the morning wave Thursday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Her biggest hurdle could well be co-leader Sei Young Kim, the LPGA Tour’s 2015 Rookie of the Year and already a six-time winner on tour.
Kang and Kim each shot 5-under 66 to reach 7-under 135.
First-round leader Amy Yang (71), Chella Choi (70), Brittany Lincicome (66), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (66) and Mi Hyang Lee (67) were another stroke back.
So Yeon Ryu (68), who climbed to No. 1 in the world ranking after a victory last week and won the LPGA Tour’s first major of the season, was at 5 under, along with defending champion Brooke Henderson (69), Moriya Jutanugarn (68) and Sarah Jane Smith (67).
Lydia Ko shot 68 to put herself back in contention at 4 under.
Kang, the U.S. Women’s Amateur champion in 2010-11, conceded she didn’t have a game plan after her last practice round at Olympia Fields Country Club, one of several venues that previously hosted men’s majors now being tested by the women.