October 8, 2020
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA
Aronimink Golf Club
THE MODERATOR: Here with Danielle Kang, just shot a 2-under 68, just one stroke off the lead. Four birdies, two bogeys today. How are you feeling right now? What was the story of your round?
DANIELLE KANG: I feel pretty good. I think it was a good start to the week. The golf course is definitely playing tough, as I assumed. I struck the ball really well today, and a couple of the putts fell in the beginning, but it got -- greens were really tough, so if I kind of lose focus a little bit, three-putts are -- there's a lot of three-putt opportunities.
I think even if you hit it well and put it in a good spot, you still have to get some good speed going and good lines going for it to have easy two-putts.
THE MODERATOR: You did start off hot. You had three birdies in your first five holes, which it's interesting the back nine seems to be the harder of the two nines, a couple bogeys there on the front. Can you talk us through the three birdies? You started off with your first one on No. 11.
DANIELLE KANG: No. 11 I hit a really good shot. It's a tough hole, straight back to front green, and I made a note to myself that I have to be pin high no matter what, and luckily today it was downwind so I had a little bit of help there, and I had a short birdie putt and I made that.
A couple holes later I kept telling myself that I needed to give myself the best opportunity, whether it was 30 feet or 40 feet, so made a little bit of a lengthy one, like 25 feet, 30 feet, so that was a good birdie, as well, and then following -- it's tough to read greens out there, and I think towards the end, sometimes when you misread it by a little bit, just small increments can make it a big miss. In the beginning I think I was just kind of dialed in with the read and the line, but it's hard to read everything correct out here.
Q. You talked a couple days ago about wanting to go back out on the back nine because you really hadn't gotten a good grasp of it. Today you had a great grasp of it. What switched there? How good did the plan come together for the back?
DANIELLE KANG: I don't know. I think my whole goal was to know this golf course like the back of my hand as much as possible. I tried to play as many holes as possible during my practice rounds, and I tried to get my back nine and front nine engraved into my brain, so if you say 15th hole I know what hole that would be and what kind of shot I would have. And discussing what kind of clubs I would be using before the round really helped. I think being afternoon today helped, seeing how it played this morning, the length of the golf course and things like that.
Yeah, back nine is definitely tough. I think the wind picking up constantly, consistently with the gusts made the front nine -- it's not any easier than the back.
Q. What did you make of the course setup today and how it played compared to practice rounds?
DANIELLE KANG: It was shorter than I presumed. I think the golf course is firming up. We got rained on on Monday, but it's playing pretty hard. The golf course setup, I know they gave us a little bit of leeway with 15 yards up on tee boxes and 18 yards on some of them, but I'm still having a lot of long irons in, and I think that's the beauty of it. Some holes you have wedges and short irons and you have to capitalize on them, and there are a lot of long par-3s where you still have to hit a really good shot. It's just a lot of stress.
Q. You're talking about as big as these greens are, they're difficult to read. How much is Ollie helping you with green reading?
DANIELLE KANG: To be honest, these greens are rolling really fast, and it's very undulated. So I haven't really asked him much about the green reading today because it's a lot of feel. I don't think I had a putt today that was under a cup. I actually misread the one on 18. I thought it was going to break and that one doesn't break, so it kind of throws you off a bit. You really have to read the grain and then the wind being the way it is and then the greens being firm and fast. You just kind of have to play what you're feeling and then just kind of hit your putts on line.
Q. Probably not a lot of birdies today out there on No. 8. It was playing tough, a lot of hybrids and fairway metals. How did you play that and how big a boost was that to get a 2 there?
DANIELLE KANG: It was 186 to the pin, 174 with the down, 186, wind into off the right. I hit a 4-iron, a knock-down 4-iron, and my knock-down 4-irons go pretty straight, so I just aimed it at the pin and hit it as hard as I could because no matter how hard I hit it wasn't going to go long. I had an eight-footer that broke probably five feet. I tried to lay up to be honest. I was just lagging it as close to the hole as possible, and it went in. I really needed that because I missed a lot of putts on the front nine, which is my back nine. Even on the last hole I had a 25-foot putt, but it's so fast and it's breaking so much that you kind of have to trust where you're looking and trust the speed, and it's sensitive.
Q. You talked about wanting to know the course as well as you can. When you go home at night do you look back over notes in your yardage book or do you just kind of shut it down?
DANIELLE KANG: No, I replay the golf course in my head.
Q. You do?
DANIELLE KANG: Yeah, I get the pin sheets, I write them down where they're going to be because they get released the night before around 9:00-ish and I sit there and put the pins in and I check the winds, how the wind is going to play. 8th hole I replay that in my head probably about seven times thinking if I would need the hybrid or not. No matter how much it was gusting I think I could have covered 176, so I was like, okay, 4-iron today. But yeah, to answer your question, I really think about the golf course.
Q. Have you always done that?
DANIELLE KANG: Yeah, I do. More so to the golf courses that I don't know that are difficult, that kind of just stays with me. If I don't know it very well, then like I said, if I can't get a grasp on it then I just have to keep thinking about it over and over. Yeah.
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