By Lynn Burke, email@example.com | 757-247-4961
9:08 PM EDT, May 5, 2013
WILLIAMSBURG — You might think missing the tournament-winning five-foot putt on the first playoff hole would shake Cristie Kerr's confidence.
When that putt missed, forcing a second playoff hole against Suzann Pettersen on Sunday in the Kingsmill Championship, Kerr said she simply shrugged it off.
"I probably made 12 15-footers today. Missing one is the law of averages," she said. "I was kind of disappointed that I wasn't able to just close it out right there."
Given a second chance on the second playoff hole, Kerr made a two-footer for her third LPGA Tour victory at Kingsmill and her 16th career win. And she stopped any thoughts of this year's playoff approaching last year's epic nine-hole extravaganza.
Kerr won $195,000 of the $1.3 million purse for her third victory in the nine LPGA tournaments at Kingsmill (she also won in 2005 and 2009). But more than that, it was the first time her father Michael had seen her win as a professional.
Kerr and Pettersen were matched in the playoff after they finished 72 holes at 12-under 272. Playing together in the final twosome, they fought off challenges from several others until the last three holes.
"I just made so many putts out there to save par and kind of save any momentum," Kerr said.
Pettersen said the thought was 13-under would be enough to win the tournament.
"Thirteen was the number I had in my head. … I was one short of where I wanted to be, so that wasn't good enough."
Kerr carded 69 in the final round, the first time she has been under 70 in the final round of a Kingsmill tournament. Pettersen, who won at Kingsmill in 2007 in a three-hole playoff against Jee Young Lee, had 67.
"It was a good week. Obviously it's disappointing to lose in the playoff, but there was a lot of good to take from it," Pettersen said, who won $118,649.
The tournament used the 18th for both playoff holes under a tweaked format that would have used the 18th for a third time before moving to the 16th and 17th holes if needed.
The first time, both hit their tee shots to the right off the fairway. Pettersen had the worst lie, landing on the other side of the cart path, but both hit good second shots.
Kerr called the 5-iron that set up her miss the best shot she hit all day. Pettersen hit her shot on line with the pin, but the ball just rolled past the hole. After Kerr missed her short putt, Pettersen made hers.
"That was the only putt all day I didn't start on line, the only putt," said Kerr.
On the second playoff hole, Pettersen hit her second shot over the pin off the back of the green. She chipped up short, then two-putted.
That opened the way for Kerr.
"I absolutely roasted my tee shot on the second playoff hole and hit a fairly good iron in there," she said.
Pettersen and Kerr, playing together in the last twosome, jousted at each other all afternoon
"I would say we're definitely two of the most intense on the golf course out there," Kerr said. "I was really trying to focus hard on my game and trying to find my swing … because it was it was a little bit off."
Kerr ended the third round with a two-shot lead over Pettersen and Stacy Lewis.
After Pettersen birdied 14 and Kerr bogeyed, the Norwegian took her first lead of the day at 11-under.
Both had birdies on 15, then Kerr equaled the match at 12-under with a birdie on 16.
"I had to come up strong on the last four or five holes and I did that, made some huge putts," said Kerr.
Aria Jutanugarn and Ilhee Lee tied for third at 10-under.
Jutanugarn, the 17-year-old from Thailand, made a run for the lead with birdies on 11, 13, 14, 15 and 16. She has played in four LPGA Tour events and hasn't finished lower than fourth.
Lee won only $38,318 in her previous seven tournaments and her best finish was tied for 24th. She earned $76,327 for her third-place finish.
Angela Stanford, who started the day 7-under, finished at 9-under, the same as top-ranked American Lewis.
Like Pettersen, Lewis was two shots behind Kerr at the start of the round, but two early bogeys took her out of contention.
World No. 1 Inbee Park had four front-nine birdies and finished at 8-under in seventh place.
"Nothing would fall for me on the back nine. … I hit everything within 15 feet on the back nine, but just missed everything when I had the line," said the world's No. 1 player. "I played very good on the front nine. "
Neither of the golfers involved in last year's marathon playoff were factors this year.
Jiyai Shin, who won the playoff, finished 2-over, 14 strokes off the lead.
Paula Creamer, who had eight pars on 18 in the playoff last year, had a bogey and two pars in her first three rounds of 2013. She finally got her long-awaited birdie at the end of her final round Sunday to finish 3-under.
The Kingsmill Championship wrapped up its two-year deal with the LPGA on Sunday, and it's uncertain if the Tour will return to Williamsburg. Kingsmill has yet to find a title sponsor.
"This tournament deserves to be here and deserves to be on our schedule," Kerr said. "...Everybody loves the golf course and where it is, you know. It would be great if we could get another sponsor to step up."
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