How a close encounter was critical to Cristie Kerr’s Lotte Championship win

On the short list of curious things professional golfers have attributed their success to, this is definitely a new one.

Hard work. Patience. A swing change. Stability at home. God. With all due respect to the Lord and the behaviors mentioned, none of those hold a candle to what Cristie Kerr credited for her victory at the Lotte Championship.

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@paulacreamer1 sprays champagne on #lottechampionship winner @cristiekerr @koolinagolf @lpga_tour #lpga #hawaii #finalround

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While it’s unclear where exactly Kerr was swimming near Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii, where the Lotte was contested, she had a fortuitous encounter that springboarded her to victory. With what, you ask? A turtle, of course.

“I didn’t even think about it until after I shot 10-under (on Friday) that turtles are really good luck for me. They always have been. I went swimming with the turtles on Friday afternoon and I inadvertently touched one. The patrols are out there so that you don’t harm them, but it kind of swam at me and I touched it, and it was really, really good luck.”

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First of all, that doesn’t exactly sound “inadvertent.” But more power to her. If you see a potential talisman, you’ve got to seize it. In many cultures the turtle is known for its luck, endurance, and longevity, including Hawaii, where the tournament took place.

Anyway, there you have it, folks, touching a lucky turtle helped Kerr best Jang Su-yeon for her first W since 2015. She pencilled in a beautiful, bogey-free six-under 66 to win by three strokes and pocketed 300 grand for her efforts.

It’s unclear when exactly the turtle magic kicked in, but Kerr found something with her swing during the second round, so this seems to be when the spell was cast.

“On Friday morning I wasn’t playing too well and then I just found something and was able to turn it on and I just kept it going. I can’t remember two and a half days after I struggled with my swing feel, and then made so many birdies in my life. It was an unbelievable run.”

Unbelievable, indeed, and clearly the result of a Testudine encounter. And fortunately sea turtles live to be like, what, 1,000, so Kerr can seek out the beneficent creature again.

So, Sergio Garcia’s happy home life—complete with Bear Akins Garcia, the pomeranian—helped him win the Masters. Kerr’s turtle encounter had some resonance with the champion. What’s next? Maybe if Tiger Woods pets an actual Tiger we’ll see him playing professional golf this year?

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