HARRISON, N.Y. -- Cristie Kerr, a 17-time winner on the LPGA Tour with two major wins, had herself tied at the top of the leaderboard midway through the first round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on Thursday after firing a 3-under 70 at Westchester Country Club.
Kerr's only blemish of the day was a bogey at the par-5 fifth hole. She immediately bounced back with a birdie at the par-3 sixth to right the ship.
"The front nine I had a bunch of chances and a couple putts lipped out, and I just tried to stay patient and got off to a great start on the back nine," said Kerr, who birdied two of her first three holes on the back side. "I made kind of a longer putt on No. 10 and then a great save on the next hole and then just kind of got some momentum. You know, 3-under, had a couple putts lip out, but I made a couple great saves, as well. Like on the par 3, 16, hit it way right of the green, flopped it up there and made about a 12 -- at least a 12-footer for par. I went on to birdie the next hole so kind of kept the momentum going today."
For well over a decade, Kerr has been one of the LPGA's most consistent winners. The 37-year-old whose last win came in March at the Kia Classic, said that because of her competitive nature, she doesn't see herself slowing down anytime soon -- like LPGA legend, Juli Inkster.
"Juli [Inkster] has always been my idol," Kerr said of the 54-year-old, seven-time major winner. "She's still a grinder. She still loves to practice and compete. I'm the same way. It's just fun. It is hard. There are some really tough days and there's some really rewarding days. It's always that unattainable chase that you look forward to trying to get every day, for me, at least."
This is the inaugural year for the reimagined KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Kerr said that given the atmosphere, there's no denying that this is a major week.
"It is a major in every way," she said. "I always think it's interesting when you start a golf course out with a par 3. Some of the best courses in the world do that, like Lytham and St. Annes. I think the long par 3 starts that course. Some of the greatest courses are par 3s to start off. So it was interesting that they brought a little bit of that old-school kind of here to New York, and it's not like just driver down the middle of the fairway. You have to place your shot on the first shot of the tournament. I think that's kind of cool."