For defending champion Kerr, Kingsmill is all in the family
Cristie Kerr spent her first Mother’s Day as a mother in a very comfortable place. The 35-year-old American was in Williamsburg, Va., last week, relaxing and preparing for the defense of her Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC title this week in the coastal Virginia community.
Kerr has three wins at Pete Dye’s River Course, is a cumulative 40-under par in those wins and has six top-10 finishes in nine starts. That includes $1.148 million in earnings (of $15.3 million in career earnings). Kingsmill is the only tournament that Kerr has won multiple times on the same course, one that she calls a “major championship” setup. In 2005, Kerr survived a 36-hole final day to win (on Mother’s Day) and end Annika Sorenstam’s five-tournament win streak. She shot a second-round 63 on the way to winning the 2009 title (on Mother’s Day). Last year, she beat Suzann Pettersen on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff (the Sunday before Mother’s Day weekend).
The results have been tremendous partially because of Kerr’s relaxed state at Kingsmill. She brought her new-born son Mason (born in December) to Virginia last week for Mother’s Day so that her “extended” family could enjoy the weekend.
When the LPGA began playing at Kingsmill in 2003, Kerr chose to stay with a family on site instead of renting a hotel room. She struck up a great friendship with the Whittakers, Michael and Linda. The Whittakers have a wine cellar and are gourmet cooks, two of Kerr’s off-course hobbies. Relaxing after golf with the Whittakers made it easy to prepare for the next round. She also found a family on the road which has developed into a kinship where the Whittakers regularly travel to watch her play on the LPGA.
That family connection multiplied last season in her win when Cristie’s father was in attendance – the first time he had been on site when Cristie won.
“They’re kind of like my adopted parents,” Kerr said. “They can never take the place of my parents obviously … They cook every night and they make it kind of a stress-free week for me. They travel to see me at the Open and different tournaments and Solheim, and it's just they’re a lot of fun.”
Kerr’s 2014 season began slowly with finishes outside of the top 20 in two international starts. But since the LPGA started its American event and Mason and husband Erik Stevens were able to travel with her, Kerr has six top-10s, including a fourth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Kerr’s victory last year pushed her closer to the top of the pecking order for most wins at one tournament. The record is five, held by the following five players:
|5||Mickey Wright||Sea Island Open||1957-58, 1960, 1962-63|
|5||Kathy Whitworth||Orange Blossom Classic||1965, 1968-70, 1974|
|5||Annika Sorenstam||Samsung World Championship||1995-96, 2002, 2004-2005|
|5||Annika Sorenstam||Mizuno Classic||2001-2005|
|5||Se Ri Pak||Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic||1998-99, 2001, 2003, 2007|
River Course’s long history of professional golf
The River Course at Kingsmill Resort has been a staple in professional golf since Pete Dye designed the course in 1976. This year marks the 32nd time a pro tournament has been held here, beginning with the PGA Tour from 1981-2002 and the LPGA from 2003-2009 and 2012-current. The LPGA began playing in the Tidewater area of Virginia in 1956 when Marlene Bauer won the Triangle Round Robin at Cavalier Yacht and Country Club in Virginia Beach.
Here are the winners of the events at Kingsmill:
|1981||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||John Mahaffey|
|1982||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Calvin Peete|
|1983||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Calvin Peete|
|1984||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Ronnie Black|
|1985||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Mark Wiebe|
|1986||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Fuzzy Zoeller|
|1987||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Mark McCumber|
|1988||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Tom Sieckmann|
|1989||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Mike Donald|
|1990||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Lanny Wadkins|
|1991||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Mike Hulbert|
|1992||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||David Peoples|
|1993||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Jim Gallagher Jr.|
|1994||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Mark McCumber|
|1995||Anheuser Busch Golf Classic||Ted Tryba|
|1996||Michelob Championship at Kingsmill||Scott Hoch|
|1997||Michelob Championship at Kingsmill||David Duval|
|1998||Michelob Championship at Kingsmill||David Duval|
|1999||Michelob Championship at Kingsmill||Notah Begay III|
|2000||Michelob Championship at Kingsmill||David Toms|
|2001||Michelob Championship at Kingsmill||David Toms|
|2002||Michelob Championship at Kingsmill||Charles Howell III|
|2003||Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill||Grace Park|
|2004||Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill||Se Ri Pak|
|2005||Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill||Cristie Kerr|
|2006||Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill||Karrie Webb|
|2007||Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill||Suzann Pettersen|
|2008||Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill||Annika Sorenstam|
|2009||Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill||Cristie Kerr|
|2012||Kingsmill Championship||Jiyai Shin|
|2013||Kingsmill Championship||Cristie Kerr|
Lexi Thompson spent last week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., watching her older brother Nicholas play in The Players Championship. He missed the cut. However, it wasn’t all bad news for the Thompsons last week. Curtis, an amateur at LSU, shot 66 in Florida to advance from U.S. Open local qualifying to the regional qualifier level on June 2. … This week’s Kingsmill Championship will have all four rounds televised by the Golf Channel, with taped coverage on Thursday and Friday from 8:30-10 p.m. EDT and live on Saturday and Sunday from 5-7 p.m. … Dori Carter is having her best LPGA season, with a T10 at the Kia Classic (including a second-round 64 that finished bogey-bogey, but gained the second-round lead) and a career-best T6 at the North Texas Shootout two weeks ago. She has earned $80,113 this year, 42 percent of her career earnings ($192,436). … Eight of the top 10 players in the world are entered this week. Only No. 1 Inbee Park and No. 7 Shanshan Feng are not in the field.