(Reuters) – Cristie Kerr had all but given up hope of playing in the U.S. Women’s Open this week after a golf cart accident left her with dislocated ribs and in excruciating pain, but the two-time major winner somehow made it to the first tee in Texas on Thursday.
Her pain-management regime included bouts of cryotherapy, two hours of icing in the morning and evening, and while the searing pain has subsided she is still suffering. The 43-year-old said she had to take pain medication during her even-par 71 first-round performance.
Kerr trails leader Amy Olson by four shots, but even being able to swing a club is a minor miracle.
“If you would’ve told me on Monday that I would be playing today I would have said you were crazy,” said Kerr.
“On a scale of one to 10 (the current pain level is) a six, which on Monday was like a 10 on a pain scale. A six I can deal with as long as I can keep my mobility.”
Kerr dropped a shot on her opening hole and another on the 11th but birdied the third and 10th to stay within striking distance at a tournament where she earned her maiden major title in 2007.
“I remember landing on my chest and it was awful,” said Kerr. “But I’m here and I played and I was tough today and I feel like I’m going to keep getting better every day.”
Kerr confirmed that her caddie, who was in the golf cart with her at the time of the accident and suffered whiplash and a bump on his head, was also making a recovery.
“This is my favourite tournament. It’s our national championship,” said Kerr. “I just, I mean, I’ve been up at 4:00 in the morning icing. If there is any way possible, I’m not going to miss this tournament.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Peter Rutherford)