It was Kerr’s 19th LPGA victory, but her first since the CME Group Tour Championship in 2015. Six months ago, she underwent knee surgery, leaving some to wonder if she could regain the same form that produced not only her Women’s Open title, but also a win in the 2010 LPGA Championship.
One of the fiercest competitors in women’s golf, Kerr is now only six points shy of automatically qualifying for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
“I’ve come this far and I don’t plan on quitting golf any time soon,” said Kerr. “[The] sky is the limit. If you shoot for the stars you may get to the moon. That’s the old saying.”
Perhaps a run-in with local wildlife provided Kerr with good karma to finish strong in Hawaii.
“I didn’t even think about it until after I shot 10 under (Friday) that turtles are really good luck for me,” said Kerr. “They always have been. I went swimming with the turtles on Friday and I inadvertently touched one. The patrols are out there so that you don’t harm them, but it kind of swam at me and I touched it, and it was really, really good luck.”
Kerr played her final 52 holes without a bogey in becoming the second American to win on the LPGA Tour in 2017, joining Brittany Lincicome, who took the season-opening event in the Bahamas.
The celebration on the 18th green included a dousing of champagne from 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion and longtime U.S. Solheim Cup teammate Paula Creamer.
Winning a second U.S. Women’s Open title a decade after she claimed victory at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. would not be historically unprecedented. Meg Mallon won her second Women’s Open in 2004, 13 years after first winning the title in 1991 at Colonial Country Club in Texas.
Molinari Ends Long Drought
Edoardo Molinari, the 2005 U.S. Amateur champion, produced his first European Tour victory in seven years, denying Paul Dunne of his first title at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco.
The 36-year-old from Italy carded eagles on Nos. 12 and 18 for a final-round, 5-under 68 to force a playoff with Dunne, who competed for Great Britain and Ireland in the 2015 Walker Cup. A par on the first playoff hole – the par-5 18th – was good enough to give Molinari his third career title when Dunne missed a 6-foot par putt. Molinari had been struggling since winning twice in 2010. He’s had to make two trips to the European Tour Qualifying School to keep his card, but this victory earned him full playing privileges through the 2019 season.