Cristie Kerr has a well-deserved reputation as a hard-nosed competitor, so she wasn’t about to knuckle under to playing partner Suzann Pettersen’s head games.
“I was really just proud of the way I tried to just tend and take care of my own game today, especially with Suzann,” Kerr told reporters after defeating Pettersen on the second playoff hole for her third Kingsmill Championship title. “She likes to try and intimidate people out there, but I’m not really that easily intimidated so I just took care of my own game.”
Kerr brought a two-shot lead over Pettersen and Stacy Lewis, her trademark grit, and the knowledge that her father had the chance for the first time since she was a junior to watch her win a golf tourney into Sunday’s finale. Even after failing to drain a six-foot putt for the win on the first extra frame, Kerr was undeterred.
“I wasn’t going to lose, not today, not with my dad here,” said Kerr, whose final-round 2-under 69 to Pettersen’s 67 put her in a 12-under tie for first.
Pettersen entered the contest fresh from a win at April’s LPGA Lotte Championship and a T3 at last week’s North Texas LPGA Shootout, while Kerr’s last victory came in November at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. The two competitors are among the most fervent on tour, and Kerr made note of that in her post-win remarks.
“I don’t know, she just tries to stare down the shots,” Kerr said. “She does her own thing, so do I. We know each other well enough to know that we’re not going to intimidate each other out there.”
Despite the obvious rivalry, the winner of the second Kingsmill playoff in two years, was quick to laud her opponent with a description many employ to characterize Kerr.
“She’s a great competitor. She’s a fierce competitor. She’s amazing to play with, and in [the Solheim Cup], she’s fierce,” Kerr said about the player she went toe-to-toe with for the final round and into overtime. “You can never count her out. I can’t say enough about her, she’s a great player.”
As for the presence of her dad, Michael Kerr, for the momentous occasion, Kerr, whose on-course passions are never far from the surface, acknowledged the win was poignant for father and daughter.
“I mean, I think we just kind of cried and we were just really happy,” said Kerr. “I just said, you know, it’s not only my day today, but it’s his day. It was really great.”
Among other players in the field, New England golfer Alison Walshe had her best finish of the 2013 season. With first- and last-round scores in the 60s, Walshe, from Westford, Mass., finished at 2-under and in a tie for 17th.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer