On a day when the notorious Texas winds wreaked havoc with players’ shots and scores, Haru Nomura overcame a shaky finish in regulation to prevail over Cristie Kerr on the sixth hole of a sudden-death playoff at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.
Nomura, who enjoyed a final-round five-shot lead before going 5-over in her last nine holes in regulation, can thank her flat stick for salvaging her third LPGA Tour win, as she made clutch putt after clutch putt to outlast Kerr in a seemingly endless overtime period.
Indeed, the Groundhog Day-like replaying of the 18th hole at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving combined with Kerr’s, um, deliberate, routine turned what should have been an exciting overtime into a grind for TV viewers.
Feel bad for the LPGA. They got a bunch of extra eyeballs...and then Kerr slow-played the momentum with a monotonous drop.— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) April 30, 2017
I think an 8th continent just formed during this @LPGA playoff...— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) May 1, 2017
Christie Kerr ....... .... ... ...— Dick fulchers lad (@Fooch1993) May 1, 2017
When the mild-mannered Judy Rankin calls out a golfer, there must be a problem.
“I have great respect for Cristie Kerr,” the Golf Channel broadcaster said during one of Kerr’s interminable pre-shot routines, “but she is really taking a long time.”
Seriously, where were the officials who on Thursday handed out a slow-play penalty on the PGA Tour for the first time since 1995 when Kerr was fiddling and diddling on the LPGA Tour?
In any case, Nomura began the final round with a two-shot lead over Kerr, Inbee Park, and amateur Eun Jeong Seong, and made the turn at even-par for her outgoing nine as wind-blown balls caused scores to skyrocket. Park ended her day with a gaudy 80 while Nomura carded a 5-over 76 and Kerr a 74.
Nomura earned her third tour victory after making huge putts on the 71st hole (for a double bogey after a misadventure on the tough par-3) and 72nd for a birdie to force the playoff. After that, it was up and back from tee to green on the 18th hole until Kerr finally missed a par putt and Nomura made a birdie on the sixth and final extra frame.