Cristie Kerr wins LPGA Lotte in Hawaii for 19th tour title


She and American Paula Creamer topped a crowded LPGA Tour leaderboard that includes five golfers tied for second at five under. She had complications with knee surgery in November, keeping her from hitting a shot for eight weeks, and from playing the first tournament of the year.

American Cristie Kerr has won the LPGA Lotte Championship for her 19th tour title, closing with a six-under 66 for a three-stroke victory in Hawaii.

The South Korean player carded a seven-under round of 65 on the third day of the tournament to move to 17 under overall for the tournament at the Ko Olina Golf Club.

Lydia Ko has finished strongly at the Lotte Championship on the LPGA Tour, to claim her best result in 10 months. Kerr had a 62 to tie Lizette Salas' tournament record in 2013.

Birdies came late for Ariya on the front nine and she birdied the last three holes on her way back to the clubhouse. I just kind of stayed out of my own way today, which is what I have to do to have a chance tomorrow. "I know this course pretty well and I've had some good success here, so being comfortable and confident coming in just really gave me that start that we've been wanting". She played in the final group past year at Lotte and finished fifth.

Canadian Alena Sharp finished in fifth alone, after a tough bogey on the 72nd hole dropped her out of the runner-up position, but still, her fifth-place result was her best of 2017.

Aditi played steady golf with a birdie on 18th, after starting from the tenth.

Sharp admits "It's hard to win out here", but has never wanted to stop trying. "I just love the competition".

"I haven't been able to play as well as I would have liked".

"I got some longer range putts to go in which I haven't seen that much this season". They always have been.

Hawaii has thrown its share of surprises at this year's field.

Weather forecasters predicted more rain for yesterday's final round, but Jang was not anxious. The wind and rain, and thunder and lightning, have made Ko Olina a tropical adventure. But on the back nine, Kerr had four birdies in a five-hole stretch, including three in a row at Nos. She needed just 25 putts.

"I had a great feeling for my shots and putting today", she said.

It was Ko's fourth top ten in her seventh event of the year, but her first top five of the campaign. Defending champion Minjee Lee tied for 23rd at 9 under. "Hopefully tomorrow I won't get too nervous. So experience definitely helps". She said that she had an ineveritant run-in with some wildlife Friday that may have given her some good luck. Lindy Duncan holed out on the 18th early Friday for eagle to make the cut.

World number one Ko fired a seven-under-par 65 on Friday with no bogeys, and is seven shots adrift of Jang.