Kang is three shots off lead after first round of LPGA tournament at The Saticoy Cub

Westlake High graduate Danielle Kang tees off on the fourth hole during the first round of the MEDIHEAL Championship on Thursday at The Saticoy Cub in Somis.
Westlake High graduate Danielle Kang tees off on the fourth hole during the first round of the MEDIHEAL Championship on Thursday at The Saticoy Cub in Somis.

Danielle Kang thrived in the “familiar” surroundings of The Saticoy Club on Thursday morning in Somis.

Experienced with the course from her days growing up in Ventura County, the Westlake High graduate shot a 5-under-par 67 on the first day of the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.

The No. 14-ranked player in the world is tied with Atthaya Thitikul and Paula Reto in fourth place, one shot behind Alison Lee and Ruixin Liu and three shots back of leader Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

“I played pretty solid today,” Kang said. “I made really good putts in the front nine. I kind of stalled a little bit in the back.”

After starting her round at 8 a.m. on the 10th hole, Kang birdied four holes in a six-hole span to leap up the leaderboard during the first morning of the 72-hole event.

“I gave myself a lot of opportunities all day today, and I could read these greens pretty well,” Kang said. “I've been around here, so there is a lot of double breakers, a lot of putts that break more than two, three cups. I was just trying to go with my feel and that's what happened.”

She responded to her lone bogey of the day, on the par-3 4th hole — her 13th of the round — with four straight pars.

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Kang then finished her round on a high by birdieing the par-3 9th, making a short putt after sticking her tee shot close to the pin.

“I was happy about that,” Kang said.

Playing in a threesome with Paula Creamer and Celine Boutier, Kang drew a sizeable gallery despite her early tee time.

“There was a lot of fans out there today,” Kang said. “I know it was an early morning and I'm really annoyed at all the morning tee times, but I'm hoping sooner or later we get afternoon where the people can come out and watch.”

The gallery included her brother Alex, who is also a professional golfer.

“My brother coming is a big deal for me, because I love it when he watches,” Kang said. “He's kind of my big teacher. He always knows how my game works.

“Today, he's going to tell me what went well and what didn't, and I learn from that.”

Kang compared her familiarity with the course to Shadow Creek, which is her home course in her current home of Las Vegas.

Westlake High graduate Danielle Kang hits an approach shot on the second hole during the first round of the MEDIHEAL Championship on Thursday at The Saticoy Cub in Somis.
Westlake High graduate Danielle Kang hits an approach shot on the second hole during the first round of the MEDIHEAL Championship on Thursday at The Saticoy Cub in Somis.

“I know that it's going to be a long week,” Kang said. “This is the first day out of four days. I'm excited that it's scorable out there. It seems very familiar than any other golf course for me so it's like Shadow Creek, when I go to Shadow.

“So I feel a bit more comfortable. I'm excited to see what I can do in the next three days. Hopefully I make a lot of run for it and make some birdies and get people — have fun and excited and get loud.”

Joe Curley is a staff reporter for The Star. He can be reached at  joe.curley@vcstar.com. Follow him @vcsjoecurley on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Kang is three shots off lead after first round of LPGA event in Somis