Having a Kerr-ific LPGA year

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:07 PM ET

The way she's golfing these days neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail is going to keep Cristie Kerr from her appointed rounds.

And while she might be met with such conditions at Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club -- September in Calgary can bring any weather -- it's more likely the hard-charging talent on the LPGA Tour's money list could prevent the veteran Kerr from meeting her season goal.

She wants to be No. 1.

Period.

"I have a lot of goals, and one is definitely to win the money list," said Kerr, who went into this week's tour stop in Oregon on top with $1,309,202. "I just have to focus on doing the small things well every week, like working on my mental game and my short game ...

"But I'm playing well. My game is in great shape."

It certainly appears to be.

The 31-year old LPGA veteran has vaulted into the tour's top spot with 11 Top-10 finishes in 17 starts this season. A $330,000 victory at the Michelob ULTRA Open in May gave Kerr a huge boost in the standings. She also finished second this year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA's first major of the season, to pocket $161,831.

She credits hard work for what will undoubtedly be her richest campaign on the circuit.

"I prepare like a fiend," Kerr said. "If I want to accomplish my goals I have to play well every week, and that means practising."

Trouble is those fellow LPGA stars on her heels are well-known for their work ethic on and off the course.

The Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 players on the money list -- Jiyai Shin, In-Kyung Kim, Ai Miyazato and Yani Tseng -- all hail from Asia, where hard work and focus is commonplace.

"It's going to take a fight," said 5-foot-3 Kerr, a feisty competitor. "But I'm not afraid to go get it."

Perhaps the recent Solheim Cup two weeks ago has further fuelled her focus to be No. 1.

Kerr was an integral part of a Team U.S. victory over European counterparts in the international Ryder Cup-esque event in Illinois.

"It was definitely fun playing for your teammates and for your country," said Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women's Open champion. "You definitely get wrapped up in it. It was just really exciting.

"It's intense competition, and I hit some great shots under pressure."

Her closing holes alongside Paula Creamer in the four-ball event of the Solheim Cup saw Kerr at her best in defeating European talents Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson.

"I just played great in that match -- I played well under all the pressure," Kerr said. "My goal was to have a good tune-up week and carry it into the final part of the year."

Cue the 2009 CN Canadian Women's Open, beginning Thursday at Priddis Greens.

Kerr was just 21 and finished tied for 17th a decade ago when the du Maurier Classic set up shop on the track southwest of Calgary.

"I remember it being a beautiful course -- and very hilly," Kerr said. "I know it could possibly be cold, so you try and prepare for that. You just have to layer-up, fight through it and play well."

TODD.SAELHOF@SUNMEDIA.CA


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