There wasn't much about Wisconsin that Katherine Kirk didn't seem to like.
The people. The golf courses. And the first Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.
The personable Australian became the event's inaugural champion and made sure she showed her appreciation to everyone and everything that made it happen.
The 35-year-old made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to keep Ashleigh Buhai from taking their duel at Thornberry Creek at Oneida to a playoff and collect her first victory in seven years on the LPGA Tour.
Her week that began the previous Sunday with a stop at Erin Hills to play the newly minted U.S. Open Championship venue. It included a visit to Lambeau Field for the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic pairings party. And it concluded with her long-awaited return to the winner's circle just as she was approaching a crossroads in her career.
By all indications, the LPGA Tour's return to Wisconsin for the first time since the 2012 U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler was a huge success. And Kirk's part in it made her tale No. 13 in the Wisconsin.Golf list of the top 17 stories from 2017. Here is a sample of how it all happened:
The 35-year-old Australian, who had gone 152 starts since her last LPGA Tour victory, makes a 10-foot putt on the 72nd hole to win the inaugural Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic near Green Bay.
Kirk birdies half the holes Saturday at Thornberry Creek at Oneida GC, shoots a 7-under-par 65 and, at 20-under 196 through 54 holes, stretches her lead to four shots over Buhai, who bogeyed her first hole and then made eight birdies in a 65 of her own.
The award is given annually to an LPGA member, who in the opinion of her playing peers, “by her behavior and deeds,” best exemplifies the spirits, ideals and values of the LPGA.
With the U.S. Women's Open moving to May 31 through June 3, the Green Bay event is free of one of the two major championships that affected the depth of its field for its inaugural event in 2017.