Cristie Kerr ends trophy drought with Kia Classic win

The two-time Major winner claims first Tour victory in almost two years

Cristie Kerr had to set a tournament record 20-under par to to win the Kia Classic, and her first LPGA Tour title in nearly two years.

Four straight birdies on the back nine at Aviara enabled Kerr to pull away from Mirim Lee and 17-year-old Lydia Ko. 

This was Kerr’s first Tour victory since May 2013 at the Kingsmill Championship and becomes her 17th career win.

“My caddie Greg’s father passed away last week, and he wasn’t with me in Phoenix,” said Kerr. “I played for the both of us this week, and I said I was going to do it, and I did it and it made it that much more special for us as our first win together and for my son being there, my family, and probably‑‑ I mean this right here.”

“Just felt like it was meant to be, our first win together, even our first Top 10 together really,” said Kerr.

“I mean we just fell in stride and the team that we are is pretty amazing in such a short period of time.”

Current World Number One, Ko was unable to make another birdie after the 14th hole and closed with a 67 to finish outright third. 

She now sits one round short of Annika Sorenstam’s record of consecutive under-par rounds, which was set in 2004.

The 17-year old, who can’t seem to explain her under-par consistency, said: “I don’t know.  I mean I holed a lot of good putts today.  I just wasn’t hitting it as close, but just holed a couple of good putts and when I had the chance, I kind of took it.
“Last three holes were a little iffy, like yesterday, but 67 around here is good and I’ve improved my placing compared to last year, so a lot of positives to take from this week, and I’m excited for the first major next week.”

The current World Number One is aware of the Major title pressure that comes with being the world’s top player: “I’ve been watching the Golf Channel, and they’ve been saying the spotlight is kind of on me, you know, who’s going to win, but you know, it’s going to be definitely a tough week,” said Ko.

“I know that all the girls are trying to bring their A games together, and that’s what I gotta do.  So I’m just going to try and have fun.  Hopefully I’ll hit some really good shots, make some good putts and give myself a good run for it.
With this victory, Kerr ends a seven tournament winning streak of South Korean-born players LPGA events.

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