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American Danielle Kang wins LPGA's Tournament of Champions

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American Danielle Kang wins LPGA's Tournament of Champions
Danielle Kang of the United States tees off in the final round of the LPGA 2022 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club on Sunday in Orlando, Fla. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- American Danielle Kang, who went winless in 2021, carded final-round 4-under par 68 to win the LPGA Tour's Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club.

Kang sank six birdies and two bogeys over her final 18 holes in the first tournament of the season Sunday in Orlando, Fla. Her four-round score of 16-under par was three strokes better than second-place Brooke Henderson of Canada.

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Mexico's Gaby Lopez finished third at 12-under par.

"I always want to win, but it was kind of more than that for me this year," Kang told reporters. "I'm proud of myself for the work that I've done."

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Kang claimed a $225,000 prize for her sixth career LPGA Tour victory. The 2017 Women's PGA Championship winner last won at the Marathon Classic in August 2020.

Henderson did not bogey over her final 18 holes. She carded birdies on No. 6 and No. 13 and was 2-under par in the final round.

Lopez carded an even-par 72 on Sunday in Orlando. She made par on her first four holes and followed with three-consecutive birdies. She carded a bogey on No. 9 and was 2-under par on the front nine. She carded one birdie, three bogeys and made par five times over her final nine holes.

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"It was really tough overall because I didn't play the par-5s well this week," Lopez said. "That probably took us off the top of the leaderboard. Overall, I'm really excited about this year for my team. My best golf [will] show up for the next couple months."

Kang birdied Nos. 13, 14 and 15 on Sunday to push her advantage to three strokes in Sunday's final round. She carded a bogey on No. 16 and ended the tournament with consecutive pars on Nos. 17 and 18.

Nelly Korda, the 2020 Summer Games gold medalist, tied Celine Boutier of France for fourth place. The top-ranked American opened the tournament with a 68, which tied for second place with Kang and Japan's Yuka Saso through the first round.

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Korda carded a 66 on Friday to take the lead, but ended the tournament with rounds of 69 and 75 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Finland's Matilda Castren also carded a 66 on Friday, which tied Korda for the lowest-round at the tournament.

The Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio is the next tournament on the schedule. That tournament, which runs from Thursday through Sunday in Boca Raton, Fla., awards $300,000 for first place.

Season's first LPGA tournament

Danielle Kang, winner of the LPGA 2022 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, holds her trophy at the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando, Fla., on January 23, 2022. She was winless in 2021. Photo by Joe Marino / UPI | License Photo

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