GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Cristie Kerr had spent the first two days and the opening six holes of Sunday’s round at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in control of her game before the unfortunate results of a couple of shots seemed to slow her momentum.
Kerr, who held a 2-stroke lead early in the round, carded back-to-back bogeys at the seventh and eighth holes at Seaview’s Bay Course to fall back. She couldn’t quite grab a share of the lead after that, finishing in a tie for second behind the champion, Brittany Lincicome.
“Nothing went my way today,” said Kerr, the top-ranked American in the world rankings. “I have nothing to hang my head about. You can always say, ‘What if?’ But I’m looking forward to next week.”
Kerr, 33, birdied three of the first six holes to get to 11-under, two clear of Lincicome and Jiyai Shin. But her tee shot at the par-3 seventh, though it was going right at the pin, rolled over the green and she missed a 4-foot par putt.
Then, at the short par-4 eighth, she pulled her tee shot into tall fescue, took an unplayable lie, dropped into deep grass and did well to make a bogey. At that point, she was tied for the lead, but Lincicome and Shin birdied after that, and Kerr spent the rest of the day trying to get back even.
“At 8, I did hook a little off the tee, but I think the wind got it and it got a really wicked bounce and ended up pretty unlucky,” she said. “As it was, I made a great 5 and I had a horrible lie in the bunker” where she hit her third shot.
A little late to tee
The final pairing Sunday was scheduled to tee off at 3 p.m. in order to get a 7 p.m. finish on the Golf Channel, but the start was delayed for close to 10 minutes while groups in front waited to hit.
As it turned out, the last pair of Kerr and Catroina Matthew finished in just under 4 ½ hours. By this time, the Golf Channel was alternating between ShopRite and the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament, which finished late because of a weather delay.
Kerr said the waiting is “something you have to deal with, but they’re a little frustrating at the same time. The officials, I think, told tournament people we weren’t going to play in four hours. I don’t know what happened there.
“Again, not my call, but a 3 o’clock tee time is something you don’t really even get at the U.S. Open, so I don’t know what happened there.”
An LPGA spokesman said tee times are discussed between tour officials and the Golf Channel before being released.
Plenty of chances
Shin, the world’s third-ranked player, mounted a fierce challenge for the championship, carding seven birdies on the day, but it was her missed short putts that led to tie for second place, one shot behind.
Shin, 23, missed birdie putts of less than 10 feet on the seventh and ninth holes and failed to convert a three-footer for par on No. 15. After sinking a three-footer for birdie at the 17th to tie Lincicome for the lead, she saw a 10-foot birdie putt at 18 leak to the right.
“I was very close to the win,” said Shin, who missed this tournament last year while recovering from an appendectomy. “I had a chance but I felt a little bit of pressure on the course. I tried to control my thinking, my mind. I played very well. I just missed a couple of short putts. But I made a lot of birdies today.”
Looking at stats
Lincicome finished the weekend having hit 36 of 42 fairways (85.7 percent) and 40 of 54 greens in regulation (74.1 percent). She averaged 269.2 yards on her measured drives and needed just 86 putts, going all three days without a 3-putt.
Kerr led in fairways hit with 40 with Shin at 39. Kerr and Shin each reached 42 greens in regulation, and Kerr had 88 putts, two more than Shin.
The toughest hole over the Bay Course for the tournament was the 420-yard, par-4 second, which averaged 4.419 strokes with just 21 birdies. The easiest was the 484-yard, par-5 third, which saw a 4.632 stroke average, seven eagles and 154 birdies.
The course stroke average for the week was 72.793, a total inflated by the 74.893 average in Friday’s gusty wind.
Looking at scores
Michelle Wie birdied all three par-5’s in a round of 70 that left her in a tie for 26th at even-par 213. Wie took 97 putts on the weekend, most in the field. … Another crowd favorite, Paula Creamer, hit only 10 greens in regulation but still managed a 71 that left her at 214, tied for 33rd. … Spain’s Beatriz(CQ) Recari, who opened with a 76, finished 65-67 and tied for 11th place at 208.