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January 16, 2020

Danielle Kang

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Q. I imagine today felt like the first day back in school. How would you describe the day?
DANIELLE KANG: Today felt pretty awesome. I got to play with Lee Brice and Cole Swindell again. I played with them last year. It's kind of nice coming back and playing with the same people I'm used to, and we had a blast out there.

Q. You have a big personality. How much do you have to embrace the craziness of 18 and this entire program?
DANIELLE KANG: To be honest, it's a bit different. My personality is pretty outgoing, but golf is a bit different. I have to kind of slow my heartbeat down and all that. Sometimes the music just thumping in the background kind of gets you a little bit more anxious than normal, but you just kind of have to embrace it, go through it, and kind of tune out a lot of things.

Q. Keep it going for the next three days.
DANIELLE KANG: Thank you so much.

Q. Danielle, nice 8 under par to start the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. How good did that feel?
DANIELLE KANG: I had a lot of fun today. I played with Lee Brice and Cole Swindell last year, so it was kind of a fun surprise to be paired again. We know each other's game. I can call them my friends now. So we had an amazing time out there.

Q. If you're not a country music fan, do you become a little more of a country music fan when you play with guys like that?
DANIELLE KANG: I guess. I'm a big fan of theirs. I know when Lee comes out with new singles or Cole says he has pretty cool stuff coming in the future and things like that. So we talk about our own jobs out there because they say they can't do mine.

Q. Any tunes sung out there while you were playing?
DANIELLE KANG: I told them they need to write a golf song because Toby Keith wrote a really fun golf song one time. So I was telling them about that.

Q. How do you like this course? How does it set up to your strengths?
DANIELLE KANG: I think this golf course, you can capitalize a lot of the wedge game on your short games and stuff like that. The grass is a bit different than where I'm from. I'm from Las Vegas. So I actually worked on a lot of Bermuda shots when I was back over there getting ready for the Florida run.

It's not as cold and windy as last year, so the course is playing different. I'm definitely playing better, just chucking away and hitting good shots. Fairways are wide, just got to be aggressive.

Q. Off-season work that you had to get you to this moment and start off on the right foot like you did?
DANIELLE KANG: Yeah. I tell people I haven't actually had an off-season. I just kept playing -- I think I took two days off maybe. I had outings. I played golf. We played golf in Hawaii, Palm Springs. So I've been working with Butch quite a bit. It's kind of a rollover season is how I look at it, and it's been a good start.

Q. Is no off-season maybe a good thing with the momentum you had built at the end of last year?
DANIELLE KANG: I'm not really sure. I mean, I just kind of go by what my schedule is. I had a good year last year, but every tournament is different. I don't look at it as kind of like monthlies, I look at it as weekly. So I feel good this week, and I had a good first round so far.

Q. I saw you had a couples lesson with Butch. Are you guys working on the same thing? Do you do that often?
DANIELLE KANG: No, we go practice at Rio Secco quite a bit. Butch designed the practice range, and it's a beautiful practice facility. The way he managed to put all the wedge numbers and the chipping green, the way it slopes right to left -- everything that Butch made, it kind of fits a golfer's style. Mav and I go out there and practice quite a bit and sometimes joke around.

Q. So what are you working on specifically with Butch?
DANIELLE KANG: You've got to ask Butch. I can't even actually explain it.

Q. It's that complicated?
DANIELLE KANG: No, it's not at all. It's words that I understand, but he always says refer it back to him just so that he could explain it better. Yeah, I think it's helping me a lot on my game overall as a golfer, and I really appreciate that.

Q. What worked really well today for you?
DANIELLE KANG: To be honest, to shoot 8 under, every aspect of the game has to kind of click in. Hit pretty good drives out there. My wedges were good, rolled in some putts, definitely missed some putts. I saved a couple of the shots that I needed to. To be honest, my caddie kept telling me to enjoy it, and I honestly had a lot of fun playing with Lee and Cole, like last year. It was a cruising round, and they were fist pumping for me.

Q. Is there a highlight moment that kind of kept your momentum going?
DANIELLE KANG: No. I just looked at it shot by shot. Even on the last hole, it was a really difficult shot on the 18. It's not an easy hole. I actually straight up said to my caddie, I said, I don't have a club because it's so in between, but he said you always have a club. So actually I took a 5 wood and sliced it. It's kind of different types of shots you have to hit. Not only that, the putt broke four feet for some reason. So I think staying in the moment and staying in every single shot really mattered today for me.

Q. You're surging up the rankings. How much do you pay attention to the rankings?
DANIELLE KANG: I pay attention because Butch pays attention.

Q. Okay. How much is the No. 1 spot a goal of yours?
DANIELLE KANG: To be honest, right now I just need to get back inside. It's pretty hot. Everybody has a specific goal. I have my own goals and why I started golf and things that I wanted to accomplish. I have goals for this week. I have short term, long term. Right now today, I think I've accomplished today's goal, went out there and shot 8 under, and I'm excited for tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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