'Magical day' for Kerr

Cristie Kerr made up an eight-stroke deficit to beat Angela Stanford at the CN Canadian Women's...

Cristie Kerr made up an eight-stroke deficit to beat Angela Stanford at the CN Canadian Women's Open in London. She earned $255,000 US for her eighth career win. (London Free Press/Mike Hensen)

JOHN HERBERT -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

When Cristie Kerr woke up yesterday in her downtown hotel room, she told fiance Erik Stevens she was going to shoot eight-under par and hopefully that would win the CN Canadian Women's Open.

She lipped out a putt on the 18th and shot seven-under 65.

It was good enough as the 29-year-old watched from the driving range as fellow American Angela Stanford collapsed down the stretch, allowing Kerr to win for the eighth time in her 10-year LPGA career. Kerr finished four rounds at 12-under and won $255,000 US.

Stanford, who led through the first three rounds, made bogey on the 17th and 18th holes -- three putting the 18th -- to give up the lead for the first time in the four days. Despite leading for 71 holes, she lost the tournament.

Stanford's final round score of 74 left her at 11-under 277.

"Unbelievable! I felt like I played great, but I still can't believe I won," Kerr said. "It was just a magical day. . . . I'm very proud of myself."

She made up and eight-stroke deficit on the final day.

"I knew I had an outside chance," said Kerr, a New York Rangers fan who had some hockey player friends in the gallery of 16,500, including Rangers farmhand Chad Wiseman. "And I know from winning tournaments and being on the tour 10 years and getting the feel of how things go, it's really never easy playing with the lead unless you've won multiple, multiple, multiple tournaments."

American veteran Pat Hurst snuck into third place with a 68 to finish at 278. Defending champion Meena Lee shot 74 for 281 while South Korean compatriot Jee Young Lee finished fourth at 282, shooting a final day 74. Eight South Koreans finished in the top 15.

Lorie Kane had another disappointing round, shooting 75 to finish tied for 16th spot with a score of two-under 216.

"I knew it was going to be a tough battle and I fought hard," Kane said, who also paid tribute to the London golf fans and organizers. "I sure hope we can come back to London."

The classy Kane bowed to the London crowd as she walked off the 18th green to a thunderous ovation.

Kerr put together an amazing run of holes, making birdies on the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th, then the 12th and 16th. As outstanding a run as that was for Kerr, she just missed several other birdie putts that could have set a course record. Stanford tied it on opening day with a 64 and never fell behind until three-putting the 18th.

As tournament officials were setting up the trophy on the 18th green, Kerr spotted her fiance and ran to the back of the green, jumping into his arms. As Stevens watched the presentation ceremony, he joked the trophy "looked close enough to a Stanley Cup to put a little champagne in it later."

A Rangers season-ticket holder, Kerr looked at the trophy in the media centre and quipped: "This is going to be my Stanley Cup. I'll never get to hoist the Stanley Cup."

Stevens said Kerr, who is headstrong and extremely intense on the course, is just the opposite outside the ropes.

"She plays golf totally focused, like all the good ones."

Kerr's softer side surfaced at the press conference, where she said she felt for Stanford and has been in the same position herself, watching a lead slip away on the final day.

"I've been in that position many times and it's a hard place to be, but I also think she's incredibly talented and she's going to win a lot of tournaments.

"You know, I still can't believe it. I played my heart out today. Even more impressive, I think was, you know, after the ball-striking day I had yesterday, to be able to follow it up with this round, I'm very proud of myself. And I'm amazed at what I did today."

Kerr said she had a feeling the tournament was not quite over when she finished the 18th and Stanford still had two holes to play.

On the 17th, Stanford hit her tee shot into a sand trap and she missed an eight-foot par-saving putt.

She played to the left-centre of the 18th green, but her ball caught a slope and it kept rolling away from pin until it stopped about 40-50 feet away. She left it 10 feet short on her first putt, then missed.

Stanford said on the 17th, she rushed her tee shot, picked the wrong club and made a bad swing. She was asked which of her three mistakes she will remember as heads home to Texas.

"The bad swing, definitely," she replied. "Definitely the bad swing because I hate mental mistakes the most. But at that moment I'm better than that and I could have made a better swing."


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