PEORIA, Ill. – She started playing golf when she was about ten years old.
And even though she enjoyed basketball, soccer and softball, Erica Kerr pursued golf because it was something her older brothers Doug and Kevin weren’t playing.
“I give thanks to my dad for introducing me to (golf),” Kerr said. “And it’s a sport I wasn’t going to get overshadowed by my brothers.”
Now the youngest Kerr is the one casting the big shadow. She won her fifth straight Peoria Women’s Amateur championship Sunday, a one-shot win over Allison Pacocha at Newman Golf Course.
Kerr heads to Southern Illinois University in a few weeks to start her final season of college golf. She’s a senior and will be counted on to lead her team to another Missouri Valley Conference championship.
She laughs when she thinks about how nervous she was when she played in her first tournament.
“The first thing I’m thinking is don’t top is off the tee,” Kerr said with a smile. “The first tee shot is always the hardest. Once you get going, it’s like riding a bike, you are so used to it.”
She went to state all four years in high school and this spring, helped SIU win the Valley title.
Athleticism has never been an issue. But golf is a mental game and Kerr has discovered an interesting way to tackle the mental side of her sport.
“Sometimes my mental game is bad so I put smiley faces and frowny faces on my scorecard (next to scores). If my mental game is good, I will put a smiley face next to a hole. If it’s bad, I put a frowny face,” Kerr said. “And then I give myself an overall grade. And it helps. It seems like a first-grade act but it actually helps.”
Those smiley faces are helping keep a smile on Erica Kerr’s face. She hopes she’ll be smiling at the and of the Valley golf season once again.