NEW YORK -- A week in May turned Cathy Gerring's life around and catapulted her to the best season of her six-year career on the LPGA Tour. Her success earned her the first Bounceback Player of the Year Award from Hilton Hotels.
A trophy and a check for $5,000 were presented yesterday to Gerring by Michael Ribero, senior vice president of marketing for the sponsoring corporation. She was one of more than a dozen Ladies Professional Golf Association players honored during the group's annual awards luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Among the honorees were Beth Daniel, Rolex Player of the Year (seven wins and a record-shattering $873,568) and Vare Trophy winner (low stroke average, 70.54); Hiromi Kobayashi, Gatorade Rookie of the Year; and Linda Craft, a former tour player who received the Ellen Griffin Rolex Award for the LPGA's Teaching Division.
"At the Corning tournament the last week in May, my son Zachary, who had been sick, went into convulsions one night," Gerring said before the ceremony. "I thought we were going to lose him, but we got to a hospital, and the doctors took care of him. The incident capsuled my whole life. It put my game and my life in the proper perspective."
It certainly took care of her game, as she came through the next week to win the Lady Keystone Open in Hershey, Pa., her first tour victory.
"What I found out was there is more pressure to win a second time than a first. You have to show it was not a fluke," she said.
She did that at Stratton Mountain, Vt., two months later, then followed with a victory in the Trophee Urban World Championship at the Cely Golf Club, a new course outside Paris.
"Stratton was OK," Gerring said, "but to win a World Cup against the best players on an outstanding course solidified the thought that I'm good enough to win, and I deserve to win."
For the season, Gerring placed fourth on the money list with $487,326, surpassing her combined earnings of the first five years by more than $200,000.
Gerring, 29, one of six children of a Fort Wayne, Ind., golf professional and his wife -- a family that includes Bill Kratzert, a member of the Professional Golfers' Association Tour -- believes she was on her way to this kind of success a couple of years ago, before taking time off to have a baby.
"That slowed me down. Before that, I was sort of climbing to get to another plateau. The pregnancy put a short in my spark, but Zachary put the spark back in my game," Gerring added.
Other award-winners: First-time winners Jane Crafter, Cathy Johnston, Kris Monaghan, Barb Mucka, Tina Purtzer and Maggie Will; and statistical leaders Patty Sheehan, rounds under par, 52; Pat Bradley, top 10 finishes, 21; Nancy Brown, eagles, 9; and Betsy King, birdies, 323.