Golf-Kerr accepts special exemption to play in U.S. Women's Open

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FILE PHOTO: LPGA: U.S. Women's Open - Third Round
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(Reuters) - Cristie Kerr's decades-long streak of competing in the U.S. Women's Open will stretch to a 24th year next month in San Francisco as the former champion accepted a special exemption to play in the tournament, the USGA said on Monday.

Kerr, who counts two major victories among her 20 wins on the LPGA Tour, was at risk of missing the June 3-6 major at The Olympic Club after falling to 100th in the rankings this season.

"I'm grateful to everyone at the USGA for this special exemption and the opportunity to continue to play in what I consider our sport's greatest championship," Kerr said in a news release. "I can't wait to arrive at The Olympic Club and tee it up in my 26th U.S. Women's Open."

The 43-year-old American has eight top-10 finishes at the U.S. Women's Open, the most recent coming in 2016.

Kerr won the 2007 U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina where she edged Lorena Ochoa and Angela Park by two strokes to pick up the first major of her career.

Kerr, who also won the 2010 Women's PGA Championship, has missed the cut in her last two starts and her best result this season was a share of 28th place at the year's first major - the ANA Inspiration - in April.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Estelle Shirbon)

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