Kerr rallies for win at Franklin American
FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Cristie 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.
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 did have a chance at eagle 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.
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 holed a long birdie putt on No. 1 and 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.
Kerr padded her lead to two strokes with a birdie putt on No. 13, and parred out for victory.
Karrie Webb, who had finished first, second and second in her last three tournaments, shot a 70 to tie for 10th. ... Marisa Baena matched the course record for women with a 63 and her had best finish this year, tying for sixth at 15 under. She hadn't finished higher than a tie for 30th at the Fields Open in Hawaii in February. Tom Kite, who helped design the course, holds the record with a 62.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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