Danielle took a quantum leap in her amateur standing
in 2010. She enrolled in Pepperdine University in January after
graduating from high school early. She made several lists naming
her one of the top college players in the country. That year she
also qualified for the US Women's Open and was one of only six amateurs
to make the cut.
Later that summer, Danielle played in the 2010 US
Women's Amateur, where she made it all the way to the final match,
then stunned the favorite Jessica Korda to win the Cox Trophy. She
later joined Korda to represent the US at the Women's World Amateur
Championship, where they finished second to South Korea.
Thanks to her status as Women's Amateur champ, Kang
got a chance to play in all four LPGA Majors in 2011. She made the
cut in three of them, and was the low amateur at the Women's British
Open when she finished tied for 49th. A few weeks later, she returned
to defend her title at the 2011 Women's Amateur. She relentlessly
worked her way through the field, only running into serious competition
in the semifinal match, which she won 1 up on the final hole. In
the final, she demolished promising Thai junior Moriya Jutanugarn
to repeat as champion, the first woman to win back to back Women's
Amateur titles in 15 years.
She turned pro immediately after that and played
in her first event as a pro, the WalMart NW Arkansas Championship,
where she missed the cut. In the Fall, she played at Q-School, but
struggled, barely gaining the lowest tour status for 2012.
Despite her bad tour status, Danielle had a fairly
good rookie season. She made over $230,000 to easily gain full status
for 2013. She was nowhere near So Yeon Ryu in the Rookie of the
Year race, but still had her moments. Her best tournament was the
Kingsmill Championship, where she contended for much of the week,
shot her career best round, and finished third, just out of the
playoff for the title. Her last shot of the year came at the CME
Titleholders, when she dunked her approach shot for eagle. Not a
bad way to finish her first professional season!
Danielle's second year on tour was pretty much like
her first: she had one top ten, finished just a little worse on
the money list (57th with around $221,000 made), and had a slightly
better scoring average. But she was derailed quite a bit during
the season when her father was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer.
He died late in the year.
Danielle had another typical season in 2014: 51st
on the money list, but with two top fives as her best finishes.
She also had her best year moneywise, with over $316,000 made. But
the most memorable thing she did in 2014 was make holes-in-one at
back-to-back tournaments on the Asian swing, both times winning
cars! She wound up with 3 aces during the year, but the third one
did not win an automobile (if it had, she'd need a bigger garage!).
Danielle's 2015 season was slightly worse than 2014,
but she had a slightly better scoring average. She had only one
top ten all year, and that was a tie for 5th at the Pure Silk Bahamas
early in the year. She made about $292,000 all year, and finished
62nd on the money list.
Danielle had her best season yet in 2016. She improved
her best season scoring average by more than half a stroke, and
set personal records for most money earned (over half a million
dollars) and money list position (36th). She had three top tens
during the year, with her best finish a tie for 4th at the Australian
2017 was by far Danielle's best season yet. Although
she missed a fair number of cuts, she also produced 6 top tens,
her most ever in a single season. But her best result by far came
at the year's second Major, which she won. It was unexpected considering
she had missed the cut the previous week, then would not make another
cut until the Evian in September. It was her first career win, and
couldn't have come at a better time!
Danielle wound up making more than a million dollars
for the year, twice her previous season best, and finished 17th
on the money list, also her career best. She also had a great performance
at the Solheim Cup, where her cheerleading on the first tee became
famous. She also nearly won the Sime Darby in Malaysia, finishing