Kerr focused on a win at soggy Oakmont
OAKMONT, Pa. – Cristie Kerr thinks she might start wearing sunglasses on the golf course. Apparently she focuses so hard during play it leads to headaches.
“I strain and I focus so much,” said Kerr, “... it’s harder when you’re spending longer periods of time out here, especially in these conditions.”
Anyone who has seen Kerr in person knows her piercing blue/green eyes are so gorgeous they sort of lure people in. Whether she’s mad as a hornet or having a laugh, those eyes give us a glimpse inside. While it’s easy to understand her reasoning, it would be a shame to hide those eyes behind dark shades.
Kerr lit up when birdies dropped on three consecutive holes on her second nine. That determined, brisk stride returned Friday as she vaulted up the leaderboard with an even-par 71. Her 1-over 143 total puts her tied with Brittany Lang, who had it to 3 under midway through her front nine. Christina Kim (72-72) finished at 2 over. Play was suspended at 2:29 p.m. when thunderstorms pounded Oakmont.
“You have to have the patience of a saint this week,” said Kerr, who won the 2007 Open at Pine Needles. Kerr is playing in her 15th Open. She has four top-4 finishes at this event, including a tie for third in ’09.
U.S. Women’s Open (Rd. 2)
Sights from the suspended second round of the U.S. Women's Open, played July 9 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.
The newly-minted World No. 1 showed a great deal of maturity during a second round that turned South early. Kerr started on the back nine and played Nos. 15-18 in 4-over par. A stray drive on the 15th led to a double bogey. Her caddie, Jason Gilroyed, said Kerr remained positive during that stretch.
“Grit and determination are definitely the best assets of her game,” he said. “Especially at a major.”
A tremendous two-putt from the front of the green on No. 1 got Kerr’s momentum moving in the right direction. She walked in a 20-footer for birdie on the fourth hole and then drained another one of similar length on No. 5. Kerr then nearly holed a 9-iron on the sixth hole, pouring in a 4-foot putt to get to 1 over. She three-putted the par-5 ninth for par, a green that featured a difficult front, right hole location.
“I talked about on nine hitting it in the bunker, but the last three times I’ve gone for that green I’ve been in the bunker under the lip with almost no shot,” Kerr said. “So I could’ve tried to hum it in the crowd right of the green, but I didn’t think that was a good idea.”
Kerr laughed as she said that, showing assembled scribes she’s fairly relaxed, all things considered. While the rest of the field prepares for untold rain delays and varying conditions, Kerr can kick back this afternoon, glass of wine in hand, in the house she rented with her husband, Erik, and her swing coach, Bryan Lebedevitch.
She’s not in the commanding position she put herself in at the LPGA Championship two weeks ago, but so far she’s proving to be the player to beat this week. No question where those eyes are focused.