Cristie Kerr shot the best third round of the Fields Open in Hawaii yesterday, a 65 that put her in a tie for sixth at 10 under.
Kerr takes no chances this time
Cristie Kerr walked up to the par-5 fifth and saw her ball in another precarious spot. This time, she decided to get a rules official.
During a similar situation in Thursday's opening round of the Fields Open in Hawaii, Kerr had a ball in an equally delicate part of the 12th green, one she had to mark five times to keep it from rolling down the slope. As she addressed that golf ball, it started to roll. Kerr waited for it to stop and then putted it.
The top-rated American player at No. 4 worldwide was assessed two one-stroke penalties on Thursday for grounding her putter as the ball started to roll and then for hitting it from where it stopped, instead of returning it to its previous spot.
So when she eyed her eagle putt yesterday and saw how precarious the ball was at No. 5, she wanted to make sure all her golf balls were in a row, before striking it.
"It was the same ruling it would have been had I not screwed up on Thursday," said Kerr, whose closing 65 was the best round of the day. She finished in a tie for sixth at 10-under 206, some four shots off the pace.
"On the fifth hole, the ball was on the ridge and I literally knew if I took my coin away it was going to roll, so I said, 'What do I do?' So I called (a rules official) and we found a place for it to stay stationary and I made it for eagle."
Kerr took some heat on the Golf Channel yesterday for what she told the Star-Bulletin on Friday about how rules official Doug Brecht "had bullied her" with his rulings against her. But if she was upset at how she was perceived, she didn't show it. Kerr was her usual joking self.
"What did you think when you saw the position of the ball (on No. 5)?" a reporter asked.
"I'm getting a ruling," Kerr fired back, then smiled. "Even when I was over the ball I did not ground my club until the last second because I didn't want to have the same thing happen after hitting a great shot into the par 5. It was kind of freaky. My playing competitors were like, 'What are the odds of that happening to you twice in one tournament?'
"I take away (from this) how big my heart is and how much I fought out there for everything. I just really appreciate everybody supporting me on it. It was a tough deal and you learn from everything, and that is all I can take away from it."
At the time, she was two shots off the pace set by eventual winner Stacy Prammanasudh. And if she came up two shots shy?
"Well, you know what, that happened in the first round and this is the last round," Kerr said. "I've had plenty of opportunities to make up two shots and if that is the way it ends I should have played a little bit harder. Even if you think you know the rules you can never be too good at them. To make sure situations are handled properly and to just try to always do the right thing."
Creamer pleased with performance: Paula Creamer left Hawaii last night secure in the knowledge that she's back in top form after winning the SBS Open last week and finishing in a tie for 10th, thanks in part to her closing 67.
The 20-year-old finished at 7-under 209, seven shots behind Prammanasudh. She travels to Mexico next to play in the MasterCard Classic, a place she finished in fourth last year to eventual winner Annika Sorenstam.
"I hit the ball well all week, I just couldn't make any putts the last two days," Creamer said. "Today, I made some more. It started to go in the hole, which is good. It was a good first two weeks. I'm glad they're under the belt, now kind of move on and know you're in that competitive mode."
Creamer won for the first time in 19 months in dramatic fashion at Turtle Bay. In Mexico last year, she was tied for the lead with Sorenstam going into the final round, only to slip to fourth down the stretch.
"Knowing you can go low out here in Hawaii is always a positive thing," Creamer said. "Playing in the wind is great. Not only is it good for some other tournaments, but also the British Open. It's just hitting shots that you want to be able to do under competition. I like that golf course a lot in Mexico.
"It's a lot like the course at Turtle Bay. You have to think a lot. There are a lot of different kinds of shots and the course is always in great shape. I can take a lot with me from here. Getting my first win, it gives me 100 percent confidence that I can play and win out here."
Rarick to go: Former University of Hawaii golfer Cindy Rarick never saw her first shot of the day at the par-3 12th go in for the sixth official ace of her career on the LPGA Tour. Only when she heard the applause around the green did she know she would have a 1 on her scorecard.
It proved big for Rarick. She had only seven holes left to complete the rain-delayed second round and needed to finish at even-par 144 to survive the cut. She came in at 1-under 143, making it by one shot.
"The ace was fun today," said Rarick, who grew a little weary down the stretch. She shot a closing 5-over 77, including a double bogey at her 16th hole (the par-4 No. 7) and another bogey at the last to finish in a tie for 67th to earn a paycheck of $2,551.
"I haven't ever done that (ace the first hole of a round)," Rarick said. "It was a great way to start because we had to finish our round this morning. I had to do it (make an ace) to make the cut, which was good, because I struggled (Friday) in that weather."
Rarick struggled a bit during the third round, which began for her a little after lunch, as well. Starting off on the back nine, she bogeyed her second hole and then had a double bogey at the 12th, the same hole she aced that morning.
"Today starting out in the second round I just put a couple of bad swings on it very early on," Rarick said. "I was 3 over very early on, then I fought my way back and was playing pretty steady, then had a double on the seventh hole right over here.
"The putting at the end of the day got a little bit crazy. Other than that though, it was nice to be playing this afternoon. It got pretty hot out there, but now I have some things to build and work on before the next event."