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Kang Retains U.S. Women's Amateur Title
Danielle Kang successfully defended her title in the U.S. Women's Amateur. The 18-year-old from Westlake Village, Calif., beat 17-year-old Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand 6 & 5 in the championship match Sunday to claim her second Robert Cox Trophy. This year's championship was held at the 6,399-yard, par-71 Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington, R.I.
Kang became the first repeat winner since Kelli Kuehne 15 years ago and just the fourth since World War II. It's also believed Kang is the third youngest golfer to have won twice, with only Beatrix Hoyt and Genevieve Hecker being younger.
In reaching the 36-hole championship match, Kang defeated 21-year-old Brooke Pancake of Chattanooga, Tenn., in her semifinal while Jutanugarn beat reigning NCAA Division I individual champion Austin Ernst, 19, of Seneca, S.C.
Jutanugarn was seeking to become the fourth player from Thailand to claim a USGA title and hoping to join her 15-year-old sister, Ariya - who won the U.S. Girls' Junior in mid-July - as a national champion. Only two other sister combinations have won USGA championships: Harriot and Margaret Curtis, and Hollis Stacy and Martha Leach.
But that didn't happen as Kang, after going all-square through the first three holes in the championship match, went 1-up on the fourth hole and never relinquished the lead. By the 14th hole Kang had forged a 6-up margin over her fellow teenager.
Though Jutanugarn got it to 4-down after the morning 18, Kang promptly won the 19th hole. After birdies on the 21st and 23rd holes, Jutanugarn lowered the margin to 3-down, but Kang birdied the 24th to go 4-up.
Kang, who plans to turn professional after the championship, birdied the par-3 27th and par-5 28th and then got pars on the next two holes to close out the match.
For complete hole-by-hole scoring, visit http://www.usga.org/ChampEventScore.aspx?id=17179869348&year=2011&type=061.