By STEVE REED, AP Sports Reporter
SOUTHERN PINES, NC (AP) — Danielle Kang revealed Friday that she played the first two rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open with a spinal tumor.
Kang, 29, ranked No. 12 in the world, said he learned of the diagnosis “a few weeks ago” and underwent several tests, but it is not yet clear whether the tumor is malignant or benign. She said doctors were also working to determine if the tumor was the cause of her back pain or a contributing factor.
She plans to take more tests next week and doesn’t know how much playing time she will miss.
“I’ve been through a lot of procedures so far and with the elimination process, we’re reducing it,” Kang said. “That is going to take time.”
The American shot a 3 of 74 on Friday after a first-round 71 at Pine Needles and was around the cut line with the afternoon wave on the course.
Kang has suffered from back pain since early April, when she withdrew from the Lotte Championship. She withdrew from the Palos Verdes Championship later that month and has not competed since.
“My goal right now is to get through this week,” Kang said. “I wanted to make the cut. I wanted to play four rounds here and then my focus would improve after that. The only thing on my mind was playing the US Open.
Kang said she didn’t want to publicize the issue, but word started to leak.
“I just don’t want to discuss the specifics of what’s going on with my back,” she said. “My priority is to be pain free and at the moment I’m not there yet.”
When asked how she felt playing on Friday, Kang laughed and said, “I don’t feel fantastic, but I play golf, so that’s good. I’m good enough to play and all I wanted to do was compete.
Apart from a triple bogey on the No. 1, Kang said she was happy with the way she played on Friday considering she hasn’t trained for “eight or nine weeks”.
Kang turned pro in 2011 and has won six LPGA Tour events, including a major, the 2017 PGA Women’s Championship. She has over $7.5 million in career earnings.
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