When I last checked LPGA.com's State Farm Classic leaderboard, Cristie Kerr had opened up a 3-shot lead on Anna Nordqvist and Jee Young Lee. Kerr had 8 holes to go at that point, Nordqvist 6, and Lee 1.
Well, while I was buying a new computer in Buffalo, Lee stayed put at -19, but Nordqvist bounced back with birdies at 13 and 14 to get to -21, only 1 behind Kerr. Meanwhile, Shanshan Feng birdied 2 of her last 3 holes to finish at -20. She was soon joined by Hee Young Park, who followed up her 32 on the front with a 31 on the back to tie Kerr for low round of the week. Then Na Yeon Choi got in the act, making birdies on 3 of her last 4 holes to join Nordqvist, who had parred out, as leader in the clubhouse. But by then Kerr had birdied the par-3 17th to take a 2-shot lead into the final hole. And she avoided a Garrigus-esque finish with a bogey that brought her to -22. Voila--the American victory drought on the LPGA was over and Kerr had extended her streak to 7 straight seasons with at least 1 win on tour.
In the end, 6 players made it into my -18 to -21 projected victory range (Gwladys Nocera was the last of them; a 66 got her to -19) and a different mix of 6 players stayed sub-70 all 4 rounds (including 4 of the top 5), but Kerr was the only 1 to break the -21 barrier. This is a huge win for a player who's been putting a lot of effort into the mental/emotional side of her game and her life. It brings Kerr to #4 in the Rolex Rankings, exactly 3/4 of a point behind Ji-Yai Shin and just over 1/4 of a point behind Ai Miyazato and Suzann Pettersen. It brings her to #2 on the money list, making her the 4th player this season to cross the $500K barrier:
1. Ai Miyazato $605.24K
2. Cristie Kerr $554.65K
3. Ya Ni Tseng $536.02K
4. Suzann Pettersen $512.91K
And it brings her scoring average to 69.74, just .07 behind leader Song-Hee Kim.
See Hound Dog and Golf Girl for more on Kerr's 13th career win. As usual, LPGA.com's notes and interviews page is top-notch, keeping track of Song-Hee Kim's top-10 streak (10 and counting), quoting Hee Young Park on how the rain delays helped her rest her knee, and more.