It is never really a good idea to annoy the formidable figure of Cristie Kerr.
Long renowned as one of the toughest – some might even say meanest – competitors in women’s golf, the 42-year old Floridian has so far made nine appearances in the Solheim Cup for the United States, amassing 24 points for her country along the way. Put a target in her range of vision and she invariably shoots it down.
Which is what Kerr did on day two of the ISPA Handa Women’s Australian Open at Royal Adelaide. Apparently hamstrung by an opening round of 76, three-over par, the 20-time LPGA winner was in real danger of missing the halfway cut. Something special was required.
Seven birdies, one bogey and 67 shots later, Kerr was all-smiles and three-under par for the tournament, a figure that will comfortably keep her around for the weekend.
“I actually didn’t even know if I was going to be able to play this morning,” she revealed. “I’m not sure how I did it, but somehow I threw a rib out. This morning I literally could not rotate. The physio, Greg, saved my life. I went out there feeling much better and a ‘what have I got to lose?’ attitude that paid off.
“I have a new caddie and he and I worked great today. We struggled a little on day one with a couple of bad clubs. This is not a course where you want to short-side yourself. But I didn’t do that today. I hit the ball much better than I did in the first round. It didn’t hurt that I made some putts. And I got up-and-down when I needed to. That kept my momentum going. I was hitting it a little sideways at the end, so I’m heading to the range right now.”
Looking further ahead than the next two rounds, Kerr has a couple of bigger targets in mind. She is a woman with an agenda. Two actually. Five points away from qualifying for the LPGA Hall of Fame, she can earn one point winning a regular LPGA title, two for a major, and she can earn one for a Rolex Player of the Year Award or Vare Trophy.
And there’s more. Left off the United States Solheim side that went down by a point at Gleneagles last September, she is already taking aim at a 10th appearance in the biennial contest with Europe.
“It really stung not to be there,” she admitted. “I’m gunning for it. And I really want to get back into the winner’s circle. I’ll do that if I can clean up some of the loose shots I’ve been hitting. “I’m far from done. I want to go out on my terms. I’m definitely recommitted. I’m hungry, probably more than I have been in the last four or five years. I feel like people have written me off, and they shouldn’t do that.”