Maybe that will teach me to stop making such bold predictions – after warning you all on Friday that Annika Sorenstam was about to roll off three or four straight victories, Cristie Kerr overtook her to win the John Q. Hammons Classic and deny Annika her second title defense of 2006.
Matched head-to-head in the last pairing, Sorenstam birdied the 1st hole to tie for the lead then the two traded pars through most of the front nine. Kerr three-putted the 8th hole to fall out of the tie, and Annika birdied 10 to open up a two-shot lead. While this was going on, Lorena Ochoa was making a big Sunday run with five birdies on the front to get to -9 (two back at that time). Suddenly Cristie’s putter started believing it was Saturday again – birdies on 11 and 12 tied them up again. Another birdie on 15 put Kerr up by one. Both players had long birdie putts on 17. Annika just missed hers but Cristie drained it from about 30 feet away to go up by two. Since Ochoa’s run came up short on the tough finishing holes, Kerr only had to avoid disaster on 18 and she parred it to seal the victory.
Although I got the winner wrong, one prediction came out pretty good – my pre-tourney picks all finished 1-2-3. This week’s Big Surprise was Jenna Daniels – her best previous finish had been T25 at Safeway and had only made four of 18 cuts all year before finishing tied for fifth. Her winnings of $37,681 nearly tripled her total for 2006. Several other players who were in dire need of a good finish got Top 10s this week, among them Diana D’Alessio, Sun Young Yoo and Karin Sjodin.
No tournament next week – the girls will be back in action at the Longs Drugs Challenge starting Thursday Sept 21. One sad note – Patty Berg, one of the founders of the LPGA and winner of 15 major tournaments, died Sunday at the age of 88. R.I.P.