KAPOLEI: American Cristie Kerr capitalized on a back nine stumble by Jang Su-Yeong to come-from-behind and capture the Lotte Championship on Saturday.
The 39-year-old overcame a three-shot deficit heading into the final round to fire a bogey-free 66 for her first US LPGA Tour win since 2015.
“It’s been an epic day,” said Kerr, who finished with a 72 hole total score of 20-under par 268.
“It didn’t start out so hot, but I knew if I just hung in there and made a couple birdies I would get it going, and the back nine was magic for me this week.”
The same could not be said for unheralded Jang, who needed a sponsor’s invite to get into the tournament.
Jang, who held a three-shot lead at the end of the third round and led for much of Saturday, made double bogey on the par-three No. 8 and had a bogey on the par-five 14th to drop to 17-under.
Kerr vaulted into the lead for good with three straight birdies on the back nine, beginning at No. 13 to get to 20-under.
Also tied for second were Kiwi Lydia Ko, and South Korean Chun In-Gee.
Alena Sharp, a 35-year-old Canadian trying to win her first title on the US LPGA Tour, finished another stroke back in fifth after she bogeyed the final hole for a 70.
Jang entered the final round with a big lead, but closed with a par 72. Ko made a run in a bid for her first title since last July, closing with a 64, and Chun finished with a 67.
Third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis tied for seventh, six strokes behind Kerr. Ariya shot a final-round 69 and Lewis a 66.
Ariya’s fellow Thai Nontaya Srisawang fired her second straight 71 to finish in a tie for 23rd with six others. --AFP