Last year, Kerr entered the final round sporting a four-shot lead and watched as Seol-An Jeon carded a three-under 69 while Kerr turned in a one-over par 73 to force a sudden-death playoff. It wasn't until the seventh extra hole that Kerr finally prevailed for her second career Tour victory.
The win at the LPGA Takefuji Classic propelled Kerr to her best season professionally as she went on to claim two more wins and finish fifth on the
2004 ADT Official Money List.
Kerr's title defense will come against a strong field of Tour veterans as well as up-and-coming youngsters. But Kerr is more than ready to take on the field.
In four starts this year, Kerr has three top-three finishes. In her last nine starts, she has racked up eight top-10 finishes and has been in the top five six times.
Joining Kerr among the headliners this week is Natalie Gulbis, who returns to her hometown this week after a solid start to her 2005 campaign. She enters the tournament having claimed back-to-back top-20 finishes, including a tie for eighth at the Safeway International Presented by Coca-Cola.
Another young player to watch out for is Paula Creamer. The current leader in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year points race has already notched one top-10 finish this season and finished in a tie for 19th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major championship of the season.
Challenging Kerr in her title defense are veteran stars Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones and Karrie Webb. Inkster and Jones have played well in their last two events, both claiming top-10 finishes. Webb has been off to a flying start, claiming a win in her native Australia while finishing second to Annika Sorenstam at the Mastercard Classic honoring Alejo Peralta. The future LPGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Fame member is closing in on clinching her spot in the Hall, needing to compete in only six more tournaments to fulfill the 10-year playing requirement.
Also, joining the play on the Tour this week is highly regarded amateur In-Bee Park, who is playing this week via a sponsor's exemption. Park also competed in the event last year, tying for eighth.