KERR BREAKS 36-HOLE SCORING RECORD, LEADS BY FIVE
Rolex Rankings No. 11 Cristie Kerr has five top-5 finishes at the Kia Classic, including her victory in 2015, and is well on her way to another good result as she sits five strokes ahead of the pack through the second round.
The 40-year-old American set the 36-hole tournament scoring record (131, -13), topping the previous mark by three shots. Kerr’s second round 64 (-8) was her lowest round this season and her lowest ever in this event, one stroke better than the 65 she closed with to win in 2015.
“The golf ball doesn’t know an age,” said Kerr. “I’ve always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”
Kerr is looking for her first win of the 2018 season; in 2017, she notched two wins marking the sixth time in her career that she recorded multiple victories in a season. She tweaked a hamstring on Thursday, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting her game much in a familiar setting at Aviara Golf Club.
“I like winning. I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn’t get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I’m like, Man, why does my hamstring hurt? From working around this hilly golf course.”
Sitting in a tie for second at 8-under par are In-Kyung Kim and Hee Young Park of the Republic of Korea, Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and American Lizette Salas.
KERR HAS LARGEST LEAD OF 2018
Cristie Kerr’s five-shot advantage is the largest lead through 36 holes on the LPGA in 2018. The previous largest lead through 36 holes was four strokes by Jessica Korda at the Honda LPGA Thailand (Korda went on to win) and Danielle Kang at the HSBC Women’s World Championship (Kang finished T2).
Kerr’s performance comes on the heels of Inbee Park’s five-shot win at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, the largest margin of victory on the LPGA in 2018.
CUTLINE FALLS AT EVEN PAR
A total of 83 players made it into the weekend at the Kia Classic after the cutline fell at even par.
San Diegans Kassidy Teare (-1) and Sydnee Michaels (E) are among players that made it to the weekend.
NOTABLE THIRD ROUND GROUPINGS
Youth phenoms Brooke Henderson (five wins) and Lydia Ko (14 wins) are tied at 5-under par and tee off together at 12:25 p.m.
2017 major champions Danielle Kang (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship) and So Yeon Ryu (ANA Inspiration) are paired together at 12:45 p.m.
Leader Cristie Kerr plays next to Team USA Solheim Cup teammate Lizette Salas in the final grouping at 1:45 p.m.
FIVE TOURNAMENTS, TWO COUNTRIES
Through five events so far on the LPGA in 2018, only the United States and the Republic of Korea have been represented in the winner’s circle.
3: United States (Jessica Korda, Brittany Lincicome, Michelle Wie)
2: Republic of Korea (Jin Young Ko, Inbee Park)
Cristie Kerr, United States (67-64, -13)
“I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can’t. It’s a gift from God being able to do that. I’ve always had that, so I’m lucky.”
In-Kyung Kim, Republic of Korea (67-69, -8), when asked about her runner-up finish here in 2013
“Well, thanks for reminding me. (Laughter.) No, it’s great memory. It’s the best I ever finish here.”
Lizette Salas, United States (69-67, -8)
“Very pleased. Made some changes early in the week with my swing coach, and just really -- I really like this golf course. I really like the environment. My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days. Just got to keep doing the same thing.”
Caroline Hedwall, Sweden (66-70, -8)
“I mean, you just kind of have to realize that this is how good I am. In the end, you have to trust it when you’re out there, too.”
Hee Young Park, Republic of Korea (66-70, -8)
“I’m going to do the same, repeat it, and like do some pre-practice a little bit with the putting and distance stuff. And then I’m going to (put my) feet up and drink some like IPAs. Here in San Diego, so drink some cool local beer and like preparing (for the( weekend.”
- Cristie Kerr’s two-day total of 131 (-13) breaks the 36-hole tournament scoring record at the Kia Classic (previously 134 (-10), five players, most recently Jenny Shin, 2016).
- Kerr’s two-day total also matches the lowest 36-hole total of her career - she previously totaled 131 thru two days in her win at the 2006 John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic presented by SemGroup (par 71) where she shot a career-low 61 in the second round.
- Kerr’s 64 (-8) on Friday is her lowest round since shooting 63 (-8) in the second round of the 2017 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, the site of her 20th and most recent victory.
- Kerr is playing in her ninth Kia Classic this week - she has five top-5 finishes in this event including her win in 2015.
- Kerr’s 20 career LPGA wins tie with Laura Davies for 26th all-time on the LPGA Official Career Wins list.
- With $19,156,554, Kerr is the top earning American in LPGA history and ranks third all-time on the LPGA Career Money List behind Karrie Webb ($20,179,509) and Annika Sorenstam ($22,573,192).
- Lizette Salas’ lone LPGA victory came at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC.
- In-Kyung Kim’s resume at the Kia Classic includes two top-3 finishes, including a runner-up in 2013 where she fell in a playoff to Spain’s Beatriz Recari.
- The last time Hee Young Park made the cut at the Kia Classic before this week was in 2013 where she finished T16.
- Laura Davies withdrew from the second round of the Kia Classic due to an injury to her Achilles tendon.
- Laura Gonzalez Escallon withdrew prior to the second round of the Kia Classic due to a rib injury.
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 63 (-9), Shi Hyun Ahn, final round, 2017
36 holes: 131 (-13), Cristie Kerr, 2018
54 holes: 200 (-16), Mirim Lee, 2015
72 holes: 268 (-20), Mirim Lee, 2017; Cristie Kerr, 2015