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Kristi Albers, El Paso’s greatest female golfer, concludes professional career

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut - Some golfers go their entire career trying to win a championship on the professional tour. Most go their entire life trying just to qualify for the tour.

El Paso native Kristi Albers has done both.

Albers played 21 years on the LPGA tour but after this weekend's LPGA Senior Open in Connecitcut, she'll be retiring from all professional competition capping a career well-earned.

Kristi turned pro in 1986 after a stellar career at Coronado High School and the University of New Mexico, becoming the first El Paso native to play on the LPGA Tour.

"I mean I remember going on the putting green with Nancy Lopez," recalls Albers of her earliest days on Tour. "And I was walking towards the green and she was on the putting green and I'm like 'No I can't put on the same putting green as her.' After a while I learned, I learned ok yes I can."

Albers ended up sharing a commonality with Lopez, a 3-time major winner, in that they both were champions on the LPGA Tour when an 18th hole putt won Kristi the 1993 Sprint Classic.

The putt gave Albers a finish at nine under par, one better than Rosie Jones, to win her the highest-earning money prize on the Tour that year.

"I did surprise myself because you know golf is so funny, you never know when you're gonna play well," remembers Albers of her PGA Tour win. "I remember I putted amazing that week and that's what it takes. I had a ten footer on the last hole to win and I was putting so well I didn't even think twice about it."

"It barely went in. But it went in."

After retiring from the LPGA Tour in 2007, Albers played in some Senior Tour events but hasn't in the past three years.

But when she received an exemption to play in this year's Senior Open, she decided to make it a special event joined by her family. Her son Austin will caddy for her, and her husband Fred, a former El Paso sportscaster, will be cheering her on.

In retrospect, it closes the book on the greatest career by a female golfer in El Paso history.

"I just thought it was gonna last forever But I don't think I appreciated it," says Albers of her playing career. "I may have took it for granted that I could play golf and play golf as well as I did at times. Like this week I'm not gonna take it for granted it's gonna be a nice week."

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Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.

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