American stalwart Cristie Kerr birdied the last hole from more than 30 feet for a dramatic victory in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
Kerr nailed the bomb on the final green to close with a 71 for a 15-under-par 269 total on the East Course, one shot ahead of defending champion Shanshan Feng of China and compatriots Danielle Kang and Jacqui Concolino.
“It was meant to be … what a way to win! I always said I wanted to get a win in my 40s and I got it pretty quick,” said Kerr.
“With a little more adrenaline today, it was a little more difficult to execute the way I wanted to. Being in the final group on Sunday, you know, coming down to the wire, that’s what you feel. I’ve been there enough to know that you just take deep breaths and you do the best you could,” she added.
Speaking about the last putt, Kerr said: “When I hit it, I could just tell it was going in. It was the most amazing thing. Like it was perfect speed; if it missed, it was going to be two feet by. It was right in the center [and] never even thought about missing.”
Kang produced her low round of the tournament, a 5-under par 66 and was leader in the clubhouse in the closing stages of the tournament. She was soon joined by Jacqui Concolino, who had the opportunity to go top with a makeable birdie chance on the 18th.
Feng, who extends her record of finishing in the top-two for a fifth year running, said: “I tried my best. On the last three holes, I made two birdies and on the last hole, Cristie held that putt. You know, I was just trying to make that putt, but I didn’t. I think second is still not a bad finish here, and I’m still keeping my record pretty good here in Malaysia. So it goes 2-1-2-1-2; I’ll come back next year and see if I can keep it up!”
Amateur Winnie Ng meanwhile upstaged her more illustrious counterparts by finishing as best Malaysian in 64th place on nine-over-par.
Asked how she felt to be the best national, Ng said: “Really good. I was really grateful that I have such a good opportunity to play in this event, thanks to Sime Darby LPGA. And I had a lot of fun with the professionals. They were really friendly, all of them, for this week, all the players.
“Last year, my mistake was I playing their game plan. Some of them, they attack the pin and I did the same thing. But you know, amateurs are not as good. So this year, I learned to play my own game plan; hit it to the middle of the green. I learned to not expect anything. Just play with no pressure and just have fun.”
Results (Top 10 and ties)
269 (-15) – Cristie Kerr (USA) 70-63-65-71
270 (-14) – Danielle Kang (USA) 68-67-69-66, Jacqui Concolino (USA) 68-68-67-67, Shanshan Feng (CHN) 66-65-68-71
271 (-13) – Brooke M. Henderson (CAN) 70-69-68-64, Nelly Korda (USA) 68-68-70-65, Sung Hyun Park (KOR) 68-69-67-67, Stacy Lewis (USA) 71-66-66-68
272 (-12) – In Gee Chun (KOR) 72-66-68-66, Sei Young Kim (KOR) 69-65-68-70