The Loop

Kerr can end long American drought on Sunday

December 04, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A long American drought on the LPGA Tour has the potential to end Sunday at the LPGA Tour Championship.

Cristie Kerr is in position to capture the Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy, neither of which has gone to an American since Beth Daniel took both honors in 1994. "I was in high school and I do remember watching her on TV," Kerr said Saturday evening after finishing the third round T-3 at three-under 213, three behind leader Amy Yang. "That's kind of what got me interested in playing golf - watching Nancy Lopez, Beth Daniel, Patty Sheehan, Betsy King, Pat Bradley, all those golfers and Rosie Jones our [2011] Solheim Cup captain."

Kerr is fourth in the Player of the Year race with 173 points, 15 behind No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan (188), and also trailing Ai Miyazato of Japan (179) and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi (174). Choi is having a solid week, T-9 through 54 holes, but Tseng is T-29 and Miyazato missed the 54-hole cut. POY points will be awarded to the top-10 finishers Sunday, from 30 points for a victory down to one point for 10th. Either Kerr or Choi will win POY by winning the tournament, even if Tseng were to charge into second place, which is worth 12 POY points.

"You know, in my gut I thought it would," Kerr said of how so much has come down to the final day of the season. "I've got to go out there and ... take care of my own job. I have to put the awards and all of those different things and I just have to win tomorrow. You know, I have to win the day."

Currently four strokes ahead of Choi, who clinched the 2010 LPGA money title after Jiyai Shin missed the 54-hole cut, Kerr is projected by the LPGA to win the Vare Trophy if she scores three shots better than Choi Sunday. Through 54 holes, Choi has a season scoring average of 69.87, while Kerr's average is 69.90.

"I'm fortunate to be in the position that I am and God has given me the talent and the heart and the will and the desire," Kerr said. "I'm a grinder, and I've got all of the things to make successful tomorrow. I just have to go out and do it."

-- Bill Fields