AFP/Kapolei, United States
American Cristie Kerr capitalised on a back nine stumble by Jang Su-Yeong to come-from-behind and capture the Lotte Championship by three strokes on Saturday.
The 39-year-old overcame a three-shot deficit heading into the final round to fire a bogey-free 66 for her first US LPGA Tour win since 2015.
“It’s been an epic day,” said Kerr, who finished with a 72 hole total score of 20-under par 268.
“It didn’t start out so hot, but I knew if I just hung in there and made a couple birdies I would get it going, and the back nine was magic for me this week.”
The same could not be said for unheralded Jang, who needed a sponsor’s invite to get into the tournament.
Jang, who held a three-shot lead at the end of the third round and led for much of Saturday, made double bogey on the par-three No. 8 and had a bogey on the par-five 14th to drop to 17-under.
Kerr vaulted into the lead for good with three straight birdies on the back nine, beginning at No. 13 to get to 20-under.
Also tied for second were Kiwi Lydia Ko, and South Korean Chun In-Gee.
Alena Sharp, a 35-year-old Canadian trying to win her first title on the US LPGA Tour, finished another stroke back in fifth after she bogeyed the final hole for a 70.
Jang entered the final round with a big lead, but closed with a par 72. Ko made a run in a bid for her first title since last July, closing with a 64, and Chun finished with a 67. Third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis tied for seventh, six strokes behind Kerr. Ariya shot a final-round 69 and Lewis a 66.
Ariya’s fellow Thai Nontaya Srisawang fired her second straight 71 to finish in a tie for 23rd with six others.
Harbour Town: Jason Dufner took advantage of two eagles and a run of three consecutive birdies to take a one-stroke lead over Canadian Graham DeLaet in the RBC Heritage in South Carolina on Saturday.
Dufner, the 2013 PGA Championship winner, collected eagles on the par-five second and fifth holes, then struck for birdies at the 14th through 16th holes for a round of six-under 65 at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.
He settled down after an uneven front nine that featured the two eagles, three bogeys and a birdie to stand at 13-under 200.
“It was a little bit of a roller-coaster on the front nine, and it’s always nice to get an eagle, let alone two,” Dufner told reporters. “I really got it going on the back nine and that bodes well for (Sunday).” DeLaet, who shared the lead with Luke Donald after Friday’s play, bogeyed the final hole to miss an opportunity to tie Dufner.
He shot 69 for the day, making four birdies and two bogies.
“It was disappointing to finish with a bogey on the last hole, but obviously I’ve been playing well and I’m excited about (Sunday),” said DeLaet who has never won in 159 previous starts on the PGA Tour.
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