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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > LPGA > Franklin American Mortgage Championship > Round 4


Cristie Kerr gains two shot win

Cristie Kerr thought all week she would leave here a winner. Then she started Sunday with what she called a magical shot, a 50-foot putt from the fringe that went up and over a ridge and into the hole for birdie.

"That was one of the best putts under pressure that I've hit in a long time, and it went in unbelievably," Kerr said.

With that start, Kerr overcame a four-stroke deficit to win her seventh LPGA Tour title, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over Lorena Ochoa, Pat Hurst and Angela Stanford in the Franklin American Mortgage Championship.

Kerr had five birdies in her bogey-free round to finish with a tournament-record 19-under 269 total on the Vanderbilt Legends Club's Ironhorse Course. Kerr broke the mark of 17 under set by Annika Sorenstam in 2002, and matched the lowest score on tour this year, Ochoa's 19 under in the 54-hole Takefuji Classic.

Kerr also became only the second American winner through nine events this year, joining Juli Inkster -- the Safeway champion in March.

"It feels absolutely great, and there's going to be many more," Kerr said. "We've got a lot of talented Americans, and everybody out here, it's so competitive out here I can't tell you."

Ochoa, the tour money leader who won here in 2004, had three straight birdies to pull within two of Kerr. Ochoa tried to eagle the par-5, 469-yard 18th, but hit a 5-iron from 180 yards into the water and finished with a 66.

"We're trying to be aggressive," Ochoa said. "We had a good club in our hand, made a bad swing, wanted to put it close and make an eagle. We were trying."

Hurst had glanced at the leaderboard and knew Kerr had a safe lead. She had a chance at eagle from nearly 50 feet on No. 18, but her putt came up short and she settled for her fifth straight birdie and a 68.

Stanford, trying to win for the second time in her career and also attempting to become the third wire-to-wire winner on tour this year, finished with a 73. She was disappointed but satisfied that swing changes she started last November have come through so quickly.

"I just never did anything to keep myself out in front. She played well," Stanford said of Kerr. "Five under on the final day of a golf tournament, you're going to win a lot doing that."

Because of wet conditions from overnight rain, the players were again allowed to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairways.

Kerr had planned to be aggressive and had all the advantages as she opened the final round playing in the final group with Stanford.

With Stanford playing conservatively, Kerr started badly as she blocked her drive way right and felt lucky to hit a 4-iron pin high to the left edge of the green on a hole that was the second-toughest this week. She putted, hoping to get the ball close.

"I just got the feeling it was going to be my day after that when you do something magical like that," Kerr said.

Kerr pulled into a tie atop the leaderboard with her third birdie in her first seven holes. Kerr took the lead by herself after hitting her second shot to a foot from the pin on the par-4 10th and dropping to 18 under. She made a 20-footer for her final birdie on the par-4 No. 13, padding her lead to two strokes.

She parred out for the victory and had to scramble a bit on No. 17 when she got caught between a sand wedge and a pitching wedge and went over the green. She chipped to 5 feet and sunk the par putt.



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