Haru Nomura outlasts Cristie Kerr in marathon 6-hole playoff to win Texas Shootout

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Haru Nomura outlasts Cristie Kerr in marathon 6-hole playoff to win Texas Shootout

LPGA Tour

Haru Nomura outlasts Cristie Kerr in marathon 6-hole playoff to win Texas Shootout

Sometimes you have to wait a long time to close out a win. A very long time.

Haru Nomura understood that all too well on Sunday, as the Japanese player needed six playoff holes to defeat Cristie Kerr at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.

It was a windy Sunday at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas, and that wreaked havoc on the field. Only two players posted sub-par scores in brutal final-round conditions, and neither of them were those in contention to win.

Nomura, who started the final round with a two-shot lead at 8 under, held steady on the front nine, going out in an even-par 36 thanks to a birdie, a bogey and seven pars. At one point, her lead grew to five.

But the back nine wore her down. Bogeys at 10, 11, 14 and 16 put Kerr back into the mix, and when Nomura made a good double bogey – seriously, a good double bogey – at No. 17, she was suddenly one behind.

The 24-year-old proved her resolve, though, after that moment. She buried a 10-footer for birdie at the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Kerr. It was a 5-over 76 for Nomura in the end, with Kerr coming in at 74.

But it wasn’t even close to over at that point. The pair would return to No. 18 for hours waging a playoff, as Nomura and Kerr both parred the par 5 on the first five playoff holes.

Finally, Nomura pounced. She nuked her second shot perfectly some 15 feet away for eagle on the sixth playoff hole (18 again). Nomura two-putted for birdie, and when Kerr missed her 12-footer for birdie, Nomura was the champion.

This is Nomura’s third LPGA title, and her first in just over a year (she last won in April 2016 at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic).

Kerr, a 19-time LPGA winner, was going for back-to-back titles, as she captured victory in her previous start – the Lotte Championship.

Kerr, 39, started the day in a tie for second with Inbee Park and amateur Eun Jeong Seong. Park closed in 80 to drop to 3 over and a tie for 13th while Seong, the two-time defending U.S. Girls’ Junior champion and the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur winner, closed in 86 to drop to 9 over and T-40.

Only Eun-Hee Ji (closing 70 to finish T-5 at 1 under) and Amy Yang (final-round 69 to place T-9 at 2 over) broke par on the day.

Ariya Jutanugarn finished tied for ninth at 2 over, while Michelle Wie placed T-13 at 3 over. Lexi Thompson finished T-17 at 4 over in her first start back since the ANA Inspiration penalty controversy.

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