Danielle Kang rode a hot custom putter to the 36-hole lead at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. The six-time winner hit 14 fairways and 16 greens and took 25 putts in a second-round 63 that lifted her to 10-under 134 for the tournament. It’s the first time she’s topped the board at the halfway point since the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio last season.
Kang said she took an idea to famed club designer Scotty Cameron and then watched excitedly as that idea came to life.
“I think it took days for him to make these molds,” said Kang. “And then I was with him for seven hours straight, grinding them, making it, buffering, lie lofting. It was incredible for me to watch. And I absolutely love that putter. And people keep asking me what it is, and he stamped it “DK Special” on the bottom, so that’s the name of it.”
Kang’s bogey-free 63 at Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong Course ties her career-low round on the LPGA, which she has now posted five times. She holds a one-stroke lead over a trio of players in Singapore, including former HSBC champion Hyo Joo Kim, Allisen Corpuz and Elizabeth Szokol.
“My putter has been really hot for a while,” said Kang. “So thank you, Mr. Scotty. It’s working.”
The second round in Singapore included a rain delay that lasted more than three hours. Kang said she used much of the time to meditate.
“I just close my eyes and try and listen to all the noise,” she said. “I try and kind of see things I didn’t realize. Like it’s like experiencing the five senses type of deal.”
The rest of the time was spent catching up with friends on tour. When Kang met with press after the round, she hadn’t looked at her phone since she left the hotel.
Szokol, the first-round leader who is playing on a medical exemption, wasn’t as sharp after that opening 64 but managed to stay well in the mix for the weekend. Szokol dealt with a herniated disc in her back last year that kept her from touching a club for 12 weeks. She played the second half of last year.
“So it was a really long day,” said Szokol, who played college golf at Northwestern and Virginia. “So just happy with how I battled today.”
Defending champion Jin Young Ko posted a 65 on Friday and sits three shots back. World No. 2 Nelly Korda trails by two after carding her second consecutive 68. Ko said her calm personality helps her to shine in poor conditions.
Korda spent time in the gym during the long delay to keep loose.
“That’s the beauty of golf,” she said of staying patient. “I feel like you endure different types of weather. And you just kind of repeat to yourself that you love golf, and you love what you’re doing.
“These long days are hard, and a lot of people don’t really … viewers don’t really know about our days like these. You know, I think I was with my caddie for over 12 hours today, and many people don’t really see that side of our life.”