PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Soaked in champagne and poised to become the first American ranked first in the world, Cristie Kerr was left amazed and near speechless after completing one of the most dominating performances at the LPGA Championship — and any other major for that matter.
“It’s a dream performance,” Kerr said Sunday after winning her second major title by a whopping 12-strokes at Locust Hill Country Club. “It’s like you wake up or you dream — I can’t even speak right now. Winning by two or three is great, but winning by 12 shots is ridiculous. It’s obscene.”
Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion, closed with a 6-under 66 for a 19-under 269 total. She led wire-to-wire, opening with rounds of 68, 66 and 69.
Kerr broke the tournament record for victory margin of 11 set by Betsy King in 1992 and matched the second-biggest victory in a major. Louise Suggs set the record of 14 in the 1949 U.S. Women’s Open and Babe Zaharias won the 1954 U.S. Open by 12 strokes.
“I didn’t limit myself,” Kerr said referring to a tournament in which she carded 23 birdies and only four bogeys — and none Sunday. “I wanted to see how far I could take it. And I took it pretty far . . . I don’t think I could’ve played better.”
By winning the US$337,500 purse at the $2.25 million tournament, Kerr was projected by the LPGA to overtake Japan’s Ai Miyazato when the world rankings are released Monday. Miyazato needed to finish second to guarantee she would remain at No. 1.
Miyazato opened the day at 1 over. She mounted a big rally with seven birdies before closing with a bogey 5 after hitting her tee shot into the rough. The four-time winner on the LPGA tour this season shot 66 to finish at 5 under in a tie for third with Jiyai Shin (71), the world’s No. 2 player. Song-Hee Kim (69) finished second at 7 under.
“It was a little disappointing on the last hole, but I played really good, and didn’t expect I could shoot like 6 or 7 under,” Miyazato said. “I did my job, so it makes me feel good.”
What blew her away was Kerr’s dominance.
“That’s almost too good,” Miyazato said, figuring 8-under would be good enough to win the tournament. “She’s just amazing. I played really good, too, but she is just better than me.”
Kerr was so far ahead that Kim never believed she any chance.