Cristie Kerr Will Kick Your Butt


Cristie Kerr's famous for her steely final-round disposition going way back to her junior golf days. When a victory's within reach, she can channel Ben Hogan as the wee ice woman. You can bet she'll be channeling in the final round of the LPGA State Farm Classic.
In South Florida, the folks who run the Dade Junior Golf Association in Miami have a lot of stories of Kerr's intimidating closing persona as the No. 1 junior in the nation. A story they still like to tell is the day a junior introduced herself to Kerr on the first tee, gave Kerr her name and shook Kerr's hand. Upon hearing the player's name, Kerr jarred the challenger by responding with something other than her own name.
'Oh yeah,' Kerr is said to have uttered. 'Well, I'm the player who is going to kick your butt today.'
At 31, of course, Kerr's matured, but she's still a formidable persona out to kick tail in a final round. At the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year, she was almost the outsider in her final pairing with Brittany Lincicome and Kristy McPherson, pals who chatted easily the entire day. Lincicome, who won, seemed to draw strength from the comfort of playing with her friend. In the other extreme, Kerr seemed to relish being the outsider, drawing strength in that role.
The State Farm Classsic's final group offers some intrigue. It pits the Wee Ice Woman against the Final Round Queen (Jiyai Shin) and Kristy McPherson, who could earn her own nickname with a memorable breakthrough.
McPherson, 28, of Golf Channel Big Break VI fame, is a gregarious soul who loves to chat, but she is Kerr's equal in guts, grit and gumption. She just lacks Kerr's and Shin's closing experience. McPherson is seeking her first LPGA victory. Shin is just as gregarious as McPherson and speaks English well, and though just a 21-year-old rookie, Shin has already won four LPGA events, claiming three as a non-member last year.