Fore Play

Women's golf doesn't get quite the attention that, say, women's tennis does. For whatever reason, female tennis stars are considered gorgeous beauties, while female golfers are derided as ghastly beasts.

That's all about to change.

Meet Cristie Kerr, 26, a blue-eyed blonde who's ripping the dimples off golf balls with her devastating drives. After eight years on the tour, she has matured into one of its hottest commodities, as well as one of its most respected players. She's won two titles this year and currently holds the No. 5 spot -- and has no plans to let up anytime soon.

"I am looking at it from all aspects," says Kerr. "Mental, physical, training, practicing, everything. That's how you get better. It's going to be a lot of work, but I am up for the challenge."

This intense competitive streak is, er, par for the course with Kerr, who qualified for the Ladies' Tour right out of high school. But she's also aware that being a beautiful, boldfaced name ain't exactly bad for the LPGA's dowdy image. "When you can bring out attractive-looking people to anything," she says, "whether it is a business interview or men's sports, it works. You have to use the 'sex sells' approach."

Of course, the 5'4" dainty duffer wasn't thinking about selling sex when she was photographed kissing her Longs Drugs Championship trophy last year (see inset) -- it just looked that way. Especially after the widely circulated shot of her became fodder for Letterman and Leno.

"I actually didn't see that picture until a week after the tournament," admits the good-natured Miami native. "It was the most downloaded picture of the week on Yahoo or something. I thought it was funny."

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