American Danielle Kang plays at the US Women's Open with a tumor on her spine

SOUTHERN PINES, NC — Danielle Kang announced Friday that she played the first two rounds of the US Women’s Open with a spinal tumor.

The 29-year-old, who is ranked No. 12 in the world, said she found out about the diagnosis “a few weeks ago” and underwent several tests, but was not yet sure if the tumor was malignant or benign. She said doctors are also working to determine if the tumor is the cause of her back pain or a contributing factor.

She plans to do more testing next week and isn’t sure how much playing time she’ll miss.

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“I’ve gone through a lot of procedures so far, and with the process of elimination, we’re narrowing it down,” Kang said. “It will take.”

The American shot a 3-over-74 after a 71 in the opening round at Pine Needles on Friday and was on course around the cut line with the afternoon wave.

Kang has struggled with back pain since early April when she retired from the Lotte Championship. She retired 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 out here and after that I would focus better. The only thing on my mind was playing the US Open.”

Kang said she didn’t want to make the issue public, but that word was beginning to leak out.

“I just don’t want to go into the details of what’s going on with my back,” she said. “My priority is to be pain free and I’m not there at the moment.”

When asked how she felt playing Friday’s game, Kang laughed and said, “I’m not feeling fantastic but I’m playing golf so that’s good. I’m good enough to play and everything I wanted [is] to be in competition.”

Aside from a triple bogey at No. 1, Kang said she was pleased with the way she played on Friday, considering she hadn’t trained in “eight or nine weeks.”

Kang turned pro in 2011 and has won six LPGA Tour events, including one major, the 2017 Women’s PGA Championship. She has more than $7.5 million in career earnings.