September 10, 2020
Rancho Mirage, California, USA
Mission Hills Country Club
Q. Danielle, seven birdies today. How did it feel to get the ANA Inspiration started?
DANIELLE KANG: It feels pretty good to post a lower score in the first round. I definitely made some mistakes out there but kept trusting my putting and trusting my speed, and then I made some good birdies coming down the line.
Q. What's the game plan when you can start off like you are, like you did today? And then tomorrow a little later tee time with some heat, how do you approach tomorrow's tee time versus today?
DANIELLE KANG: Well, it's just been consistently hot every day, but it's been pretty bearable so far. I'm from Vegas, it's 120 out there, so I kind of like the heat. But besides that, I think it's a major championship. Every day there's new difficulties. Even the simplest shot is not as simple as we think. So I've just got to stay focused, and I think that's my main goal.
Q. How did you like the twosome? How was the pace? How did it play to an advantage of keeping a rhythm out there?
DANIELLE KANG: We always play twosomes out here and I really like playing in twosomes, and I got paired with Anna Nordqvist and we've played together a lot on Tour quite a bit, so I know how she's like and she knows how I am, so it's very comfortable. Pace is good, and sometimes if you get into difficulties you fall back a little bit, but good thing that there's no one with golf carts in front of us that can just take off. That's something that we were just paying attention to.
Q. On the broadcast a couple of the Golf Channel commentators mentioned your confidence just looks unflappable out there with each swing. Would you agree?
DANIELLE KANG: I guess. I think it's mostly just -- my main focus on every shot is execution and on how I'm going to hit the shot. I'm trying not to be so result-based anymore. I definitely mis-hit some shots today, but I don't let that affect the next shot, and it happens. Golf is a game of misses.
I think the confidence that maybe people talk about is my ability to execute it whether or not I've hit a missed shot the hole before or things like that. I'm trying to get better at it. It seems like it.
Q. You've been playing at such a high level; do you feel any pressure to add to your major championship resume, and if so, how do you manage that?
DANIELLE KANG: I mean, I think it's more so than for a major for me, to win this specific tournament, the ANA Inspiration just because it's in California, it's Palm Springs and it's a tournament I've been playing since I was an amateur and I was invited here. I think it would just be a little bit different than winning different majors. Every major has its own uniqueness, and this one itself has its own, as well.
Q. How do you manage that desire?
DANIELLE KANG: Well, I mean, every golf tournament I play and compete in, I want to do the best I can, and I don't think that will defer just because it's a different tournament. Every week in, week out I try and prepare the best I can and play the best I can possibly play and see where I end up. That's just kind of my mentality lately.
Q. What club did you hit on 5?
DANIELLE KANG: 5-iron.
Q. Can you see everything -- did you have any idea how close it was because it felt like someone screamed up there.
DANIELLE KANG: My mom.
Q. She liked it?
DANIELLE KANG: Yeah, this was the first time she got to come watch me play this entire year, so I'm really excited and happy about that, and she just shouted, "Get in the hole!" And I could kind of see it tracking, but I couldn't tell -- it was 191 yards out. I think the next thing I hoped for was to be as close as possible so I could just tap it in. Yeah, so it was fun.
Q. If you made seven birdies was that the only time your mom yelled today was on No. 5?
DANIELLE KANG: Yeah, I think she was just excited to make a hole-in-one today maybe. She sometimes doesn't even know if I made a birdie or not. She just keeps taking off. I tell her, can you just watch instead of running off to the next hole.
Q. When you talk about mistakes, was there any one shot that kind of irritated you today?
DANIELLE KANG: It necessarily wasn't a golf shot that irritated me. I three-putted three times. I three-putted on 14, 16 and 10. That's three three-putts in six holes. It just bugged me a little bit. But there's always a reason why I'm three-putting. There's always a reason why I missed a two-and-a-half-footer. Actually the miss on 10 kind of made me realize why did I miss a two-and-a-half-footer, and then I started thinking about it and then I rolled the ball better coming down the stretch, and I think -- it happens.
Q. Why did you miss it?
DANIELLE KANG: I mean, it's just a technical --
Q. Technical difficulty?
DANIELLE KANG: Yeah, just a technical thing. I just went, oh, okay.
Q. So it was a technical thing, not the greens up here --
DANIELLE KANG: No, it was definitely me.
Q. A lot of people coming in said the Bermudagrass --
DANIELLE KANG: No, it was definitely me. It was 100 percent me.
Q. Was there ever a time where if you had a stretch like that that it stayed with you?
DANIELLE KANG: Yeah, and it has previously. Yeah, it definitely has. I think that's something that I've gotten better at over the years, trying not to dwell on the previous mistakes. Like I explained, just try and focus on execution and knowing that I could still execute even if I made a mistake. Just telling myself it's okay that I made a mistake. I think that's kind of giving me like a sense of just confidence maybe.
Q. How did you play the par-5s on the back?
DANIELLE KANG: My front nine?
DANIELLE KANG: No. 11 was pulled up, reached it -- no, I didn't reach it in two. Where was I? I was in the bunker. It was a really good bunker shot. I try to go for everything. I like greenside bunkers. I'm a fan. So if the miss is a greenside bunker, I usually just take that as a miss. Same thing on No. 18. I thought I could drive it maybe if I got a really good bounce, but I had 238 to cover it and I just didn't think I could cover that. But I left myself a good number.
Q. That's a good wedge shot to that pin, though, isn't it?
DANIELLE KANG: Yeah, I left myself a really good number. I told my caddie I wanted a number left between 70 to 80 and I had 75.
Q. That's right in the middle.
DANIELLE KANG: Yep.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports