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Kerr's putter swap is paying off early
By BOB HARIG
Published April 28, 2006
REUNION - A switch to a new putter has Cristie Kerr confident on the greens again, although you'd be hard-pressed to suggest she was in any kind of a slump.
Kerr, one of the top players on the LPGA Tour, shot 7-under-par 65 at Reunion Resort on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open.
In her 10th year on the tour at age 28, Kerr has won five times the past two years, earning more than $2.5-million. This year, she has five top-10 finishes in seven starts, including a tie for second last weekend in Atlanta.
But she has not won. Hence, a putter change.
"I started making putts last week," she said. "As everybody knows, putting is half confidence and half reads. I putted very well with it.
"I've worked pretty hard all year to try and shoot low, and it just never seemed like I would get the momentum going. Shooting low rounds are all about momentum and keeping the putts going in. It's nice to see, finally."
Kerr didn't make a bogey and held a two-shot lead over Lorena Ochoa and Laura Diaz. Paula Creamer and Tracy Hanson shot 69.
Diaz has not made a cut in three events this year, but with good reason. Diaz, who turned 31 Thursday, had a son, Connor, on Jan. 16.
But she put herself in good position with 5-under-par 67, her best round of the year. In fact, it is the first time she has broken par.
"I got right back into working out right away, so I think my body was definitely adjusting quicker," said Diaz, a two-time tour winner who played 21 times last year, including while pregnant. "But my mental side of it wasn't coming along so quickly. Trying to manage being a mom is the hardest part. In my mind, being okay with leaving him during the day even though I've been leaving him with my mom ... I still feel guilty. I think last week was the first week that I actually was able to go through a full routine of not feeling bad."
Playing near her adopted hometown of Lake Nona was nice, but Annika Sorenstam would have liked to have done better than 72.
"I'm hitting good shots, I'm just not hitting it close enough to the hole," said Sorenstam, who tied for second Sunday in Atlanta, squandering her one-shot lead Saturday. "When I did have a few chances, I didn't make the putt."
Seminole's Brittany Lincicome was on the leaderboard at 3-under but fell back with double bogey at the 13th hole. She finished with 74. ... Andia Winslow, who became the first black golfer to play in an LPGA Tour event in five years, was 10-over through 14 holes when play was halted by darkness. ... Ochoa opened her round with eagle on No. 10.