Kerr claims Kingsmill crown in playoff

The SportsXchange

JAMES CITY, Va. -- American Cristie Kerr shot a final-round, 2-under 69 and parred the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to outlast Norway's Suzann Pettersen and claim the LPGA Tour's Kingsmill Championship on Sunday.

Already the only two-time winner in the event's history, Kerr's third victory on Kingsmill Resort's River Course nearly came on the first playoff hole, but she missed a six-foot birdie chance.

While Pettersen's approach shot on the second playoff hole landed off the green, Kerr's landed safely, and her lag putt from 15-feet ended just outside the cup.

After Pettersen missed a par-saving putt for her first bogey of the day, Kerr did completed her first victory on the season. By improving her playoff record to 3-2, the 35-year-old landed the $195,000 first prize.

Kerr, who won at Kingsmill in 2005 and 2009, entered the final round with a two-stroke lead. She needed a birdie on the 16th hole to catch Pettersen at 12 under overall on the par-71 course.

Pettersen, who won the 2007 Kingsmill event in a playoff, fired a 4-under 67. Pettersen's playoff bogey came on the 18th hole after she parred the par-4, 382-yard hole during all four rounds in regulation and the first playoff hole.

Ariya Jutanugarn, a 17-year-old from Thailand who led after the first and second rounds, matched Sunday's low round with a 66 and tied South Korea's Ilhee Lee in third place, two strokes behind the leaders.

Americans Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford finished at 9 under. Inbee Park of South Korea, who retains the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings, shot a 67 and finished in seventh place, four shots back.

While others threatened to contend, the final battle came down to the duo in the final pairing.

A winner last month at the Lotte Championship, Pettersen had a lengthy birdie bid on the final hole of regulation roll just past the hole. Kerr forced the playoff with a tricky up-and-down including a testy six-foot par putt.

Ranked 12th in the world entering the week, Kerr recorded her 16th victory, the first with her father, Michael, on hand. She won at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last November.

Pettersen, the fifth-ranked player in the world, owns a 5-3 playoff record.

NOTES: Already a three-time winner this season, Park pulled within one stroke of first place by birding four of the first seven holes, but she made only one birdie over the final 11 holes despite consistently reaching the green in regulation. ... Lewis, the top-ranked American, started the round two shots behind Kerr. The world's No. 2 player fell back after bogeys on three of the first 12 holes.
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