Kerr's win tops off stunning tourney

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

This tournament deserved a stunning ending.

How appropriate that's just what it got.

Now Angela Stanford might not be happy about it. After all, she cracked on the back nine of the London Hunt and Country Club and coughed up the Canadian Women's Open championship to Cristie Kerr.

But somehow, the idea of a tournament with perfect weather, record crowds and good golf, ending with nothing more than a parade march down the 18th to crown a winner just didn't seem right.

We have Cristie Kerr to thank for an ending golf fans will long remember.

Can you hear it now? Cristie Kerr? What are you talking about? If Stanford doesn't fall apart and bogeys 17 and 18, then there isn't any excitement in the tournament.

That's what Stanford is going to have to live with until she wins another tournament.

Golf can be a cruel master. There's nowhere to hide on the 18th hole when you need to make par or better to stay in the hunt. When the dice comes up snake-eyes, then you have to deal with the whispered, and not so whispered, renderings that you are a choker.

Tagging Stanford with that label is easy. If she plays par golf on the day, she wins. Stanford beat herself.

But Kerr had a huge hand in how Stanford played. What Kerr did was play a remarkable round of golf that many didn't believe could be played on a day when the greens were dry and unpredictable.

Stanford shot 74 on the day, that's two over par. Kerr came up with a round of 65, seven-under. When the day began only Kerr herself believed she still had a chance to win the tournament. Eight back with 18 holes to play usually means, 'thanks for the nice weather and freebies and we'll see you next year.'

But Kerr played golf the way it was supposed to be played. She fired at the flags. She focused on each and every shot.

Kerr has that kind of reputation on tour. She's a predator, the kind of golfer that is always dangerous because she believes that whenever she goes out there, she has a 65 in her bag.

"It just goes to prove that you can try and control what you do and then everybody else will react to it," said Kerr.

It was a lesson in the hunter and its prey. As Kerr moved up the leaderboard, she seemed to grow stronger and more confident. Stanford said she was looking at the leaderboard. She was no doubt shocked that Kerr, of all people was as close to her as she was.

She said that she felt good emotionally as she came to the last few holes. Funny, she didn't look it.

Without Kerr putting up low numbers, Stanford doesn't feel any pressure. She doesn't have to worry and a good tournament winds up with a mediocre ending.

"It's never easy to play with a lead and I knew that," said Kerr.

It was great drama. A real life, thrill of victory and agony of defeat story.

With golf in Canada being in a state of flux, this type of successful tournament was just what the doctor ordered.

And the success of what happened in London should send a message to the Royal Canadian Golf Association which would love to put its national championships in major cities. It's a simple message; size doesn't matter.

"(This tournament) is definitely on the comeback," said Kerr in talking about a time when the Women's Canadian Open was a major. "This was a tremendous venue. CN is a tremendous sponsor and the fans . . . this definitely feels like (a major.)

"I had a great time and I just think it is gaining momentum, more and more momentum to gaining back that status. This week was a big step towards that."

And the ending she orchestrated, sure didn't hurt either.


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