While the PGA Tour’s playoff lingers into Monday, the LPGA’s extra-hole affair between Haru Nomura and Cristie Kerr was settled Sunday night. But only after six grueling extra holes—the duo playing the par-5 finishing hole at Las Colinas Country Club each time—on an already long, difficult day at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.
In the end, it was Nomura making a tap-in birdie to keep Kerr from winning her second straight LPGA title.
Gusting winds upwards of 35 m.p.h. created firm greens that lead to tough conditions and high scores at the Irving, Texas, course. Just two players in the field broke par during the final round.
And after rounds of 74 and 76, respectively, Kerr and Nomura found themselves tied at three under for the week. In the playoff, the two traded pars for the first five extra holes until Nomura, the highest-ranked Japanese player in the world at No. 18 after her victory, hit the green in two, then just missed a 12-foot eagle try, setting up a tap-in birdie. When Kerr couldn’t roll in her 10-foot birdie effort, Nomura had her first LPGA win of the season and the third of her career.
The wind was a factor all week in Texas, but was certainly at its worst on Sunday. Many players made comments about the tough conditions after their rounds; Michelle Wie went so far as to say it was some of the hardest conditions she’s competed in.
Even so, the 24-year-old Nomura, who held a four-stroke lead on the back nine but stumbled home with four bogeys and a double on the back nine, said the difficult environment played to her advantage. “I like tough conditions,” said Nomura.
Of note, this was Lydia Ko’s first tournament with her new caddie. Yet after rounds of 70 and 73, No. 1 player on the Rolex Rankings withdrew from the event with an eye infection.
This was also Lexi Thompson’s first tournament since the infamous ruling at the ANA Inspiration almost four weeks ago. Thompson closed with a 74 yet moved up from T-22 starting Sunday to T-17 after the round, finishing seven back of the leaders.