SOUTHPORT, England – Cristie Kerr has her sights set on a return to the top of world rankings when she tees off at the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale on Thursday.
Kerr is currently third behind Japan’s Ai Miyazato and top-ranked Jiyai Shin of South Korea, the winner of last week’s Evian Masters.
The American reached the top for the first time in her career in late June after winning the LPGA Championship, before slipping back. Kerr now believes that two more tournament victories would restore that ranking.
“It adds a bit more spice to this week,” she said. “Every week counts and you have a chance to be No. 1 every week, so it’s going to be exciting until the end of the year.
“I’ve worked my whole life to be world No. 1 and I’m in a position now to do it.”
However, Kerr knows it would only be a stepping stone if she succeeded this week at one of her favorite courses.
“To be world No. 1 it’s going to take probably a couple more tournament wins,” Kerr said. “I’ve had a good start to the season as far as trying to accomplish that. I’ve just got to keep playing well.
“I enjoy playing Birkdale. It’s one of the best courses in the world. I played a lot of good golf when we were here in 2005 despite the weather and birdied the last hole to finish fifth. So I have good memories of playing here.”
Kerr, who tied for second at the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham in 2006 behind fellow American Sherri Steinhauer, will play with Brittany Lincicome and 1990 champion Helen Alfredsson in the first two rounds.
Melissa Reid, who got her first win on the Ladies European Tour in Turkey in May, is full of confidence going into her third Women’s British Open as a professional, having won the Smyth Salver as leading amateur at St. Andrews in 2007.
“Physically and mentally I’m getting stronger and I certainly feel that my game is moving in the right direction and my goal this week is to win,” Reid said. “I think if I stay patient and my mind stays calm I can certainly compete with these girls and I feel I can also beat them as well.”