Kerr wins rain-delayed State Farm Classic

Cristie Kerr won the rain-delayed LPGA State Farm Classic by one

shot over Anna Nordqvist and Na Yeon Choi on Monday.

The final round of the event was played a day late due to

weekend rain interrupting play. Kerr fought off flulike symptoms

and late challenges from Nordqvist and Choi, shooting a 3-under 69

in the final round to finish at 22-under 266 at Panther Creek

Country Club.

Kerr had a two-shot lead heading to the final hole, so a bogey

on the final hole gave her the one-shot victory. It is her second

State Farm Classic win, and she becomes the first American to win

on the LPGA tour since Michelle Wie won the Lorena Ochoa

Invitational last November.

“That definitely motivates me to be the top American and top

player on tour,” said Kerr, who won $255,000 to move into the

second on the money list, $60,000 behind Ai Miyazato. “I’m just

happy not to have to answer, ‘Why are there no American winners

anymore?’ “

Juli Inkster, whose first-round 65 had her tied for second, shot

68-71 on the weekend to end in 35th.

Karrie Webb made her way into a tie for 11th with a final-round

65. Natalie Gulbis went 4 under in her closing round to finish tied

for 36th and Wie finished at 6 under, tied for 52nd.

Kerr led after third-round play was completed Sunday morning and

would have been the champion if the fourth round had been washed

out. But with more than half the round completed when heavy rain

and lightning rolled in Sunday, tour officials decided to try to

finish the tournament Monday.

Kerr never wavered. After Saturday’s delay, she made six more

birdies to finish with a 63. Monday, she birdied three holes before

an inconsequential bogey on 18.

Kerr said the stormy conditions Sunday helped her.

“It was actually to my advantage that they called play last

evening, because I was just exhausted,” she said. “I didn’t sleep

well at all on Saturday night, just up coughing the whole

night.”

Kerr came down with flulike symptoms early in the week and then

weathered two storm postponements that left birdie putts on the

course to post rounds of 67-67-63-69. She missed the green and

bogied 18 on Monday, but with a two-shot lead over Nordqvist and

Choi, her two-putt was good for the victory.

“You know, you always want to try and complete the tournament

to be able to feel like you earned it,” Kerr said. “I would have

taken it, don’t get me wrong, but this feels better.”

Choi birdied three of her last four holes to get to 21 under,

but Nordqvist, who birdied four straight before the rain stopped

play on Sunday, was up and down after the break. She bogeyed the

par-4 12th and before birdies on Nos. 13-14. She had another birdie

chance on the par-5 16th, but missed a short put. She had to get up

and down from the sand on 18 to save par, but the bad read on 16 is

what really cost her.

“I knew I had to make a couple of birdies those last couple of

holes to give it a shot, but I gave this my best,” she said. “I

thought I hit a pretty good putt, it just broke a little too much.

I mean, that’s life.”

First-round leader Shanshan Feng and Hee Young Park, who just

missed a birdie putt on 18 that would have given her a final-round

62, ended tied for fourth at 20 under. Feng, the only Chinese

golfer on the tour, loves to play Panther Creek.

“I think this course fits me. It’s not an easy course, but I

feel like it’s good for me as a long hitter,” she said. “My

putting was really good. My putting is not usually that good, but

it’s good here.”

Park’s 63 was a personal best and included nine birdies. She was

playing on an injured knee and the delay may have helped.

“It’s getting worse, so I rested it,” she said. “That was a

good choice.”

A day into the new week on tour, Kerr was already thinking of

what lay ahead.

“Winning is a great feeling, but you can’t stop there,” she

said. “You’ve got to be able to set new goals. I’ve got another

tournament (this) week and then I’ve got another major.”