The easy explanation is that Lindsey Wright is at the front door, while Cristie Kerr already is in the house and usually can get around in the dark without banging her shin on the coffee table.
That's why Kerr collected the big paycheck and the hardware Sunday afternoon at a Kingsmill River Course that suddenly grew teeth, and Wright came away with several pointers that might help the next time she's in victory neighborhood.
Kerr closed the deal Sunday at the Michelob Ultra Open, her second victory at Kingsmill. Or to be more accurate, she best handled the day, the course and the conditions as various contenders fell away.
One of those contenders was Wright. The two entered Sunday tied for the lead and played in the final group — the 11-time tournament winner and major champion paired with the 29-year-old Aussie who never had finished better than third in an LPGA event.
"I really enjoy it, especially head-to-head with Cristie," Wright said. "It's great. She's won a ton of tournaments, a major. I knew starting off I was going to have to play some of my best golf today. Unfortunately, I didn't."
Indeed, after three superb days, Wright was merely mortal when she needed to be a bit better.
Wright managed only a 2-over 73 that left her at 13-under 271, tied for third with Song-Hee Kim and three shots back of Kerr.
"I came out thinking I had to make birdies and I probably forced it a little bit with some putts," Wright said. "It was a good experience, the first time I've really been in this position, so I learned a lot, for sure."
Wright birdied the first hole to briefly take the lead, but it turned out to be Fool's Gold. She three-putted the second and fifth holes, giving her one more bogey on the front nine (two) Sunday than she carded the previous three rounds combined (one).
Wright's formula of fairways and greens deserted her Sunday. The first three days, she hit 38 of 42 fairways and 41 of 54 greens. On Sunday, she hit 9 of 14 fairways and just 10 of 18 greens.
"It's been a really positive week," said Wright, who still took home a check for $130,385. "Being in this position, I mean that experience was just awesome today. It's not like I've not been in those positions before, but any other day I might have finished and be in a playoff right now. I just wasn't feeling 100 percent."
Wright, slowed by various ailments all week, told caddie Paul Clifford at No. 12 that she still wasn't quite up to par physically.
"But that's no excuse," she said. "I shot 7-under feeling like crap, 6-under feeling like crap, too."
Part of the difference was the day. Swirling winds, challenging pin placements and quick greens caused scores to balloon, as did lengthy delays.
For a while Sunday, the River Course turned into a kind of picturesque, outdoor DMV office. Player inquiries and marshals' rulings created a logjam on the eighth and ninth holes that had groups backed up three-deep and caused up to 20-minute waits to tee off.
After 29 rounds under-par and 17 rounds in the 60s Saturday, there were only 20 under-par and 11 in the 60s Sunday. The first two days saw 73 rounds in the 60s.
"The last three days you could throw it like darts," Wright said. "You could stick everything close to the hole. Today, you needed to lay up, maybe 10-15 yards short and roll it up."
Wright's final chance to challenge ended with a bogey at the 16th hole. She was one shot back of Kerr, but she hit her approach left of the green, above the bunker in an awkward lie. She popped up her chip 12 feet past the hole, then two-putted to fall two shots back of Kerr.
Wright took a good run at a birdie putt on 17, settling for par, then made a good bogey on 18 after a poor drive forced her to lay up. She firmly sank the 10-foot bogey putt, with the gallery awaiting Kerr's coronation.
"Overall, she played great," said Clifford, new on her bag this week. "She hit a load of greens, holed a lot of putts, hit a lot of good shots. That's got to give her confidence for the next few weeks. I'd put my money on her, somewhere in the next six tournaments. She's ready to win. It's just doing it the first time."
Wright said, "I made three really silly mistakes. It's disappointing, but at the same time, it's been a really good tournament."
Wright knows her way into the neighborhood now and will continue knocking on the door. Or perhaps she'll get tired of knocking and just kick it in.
Dave Fairbank can be reached at 247-4637 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from Fairbank, read his blog at dailypress.com/fromthetarpit.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times