From The Jersey Journal • by Matthew McNab

A group of local veterans got to rub shoulders today with one of the leading ladies of golf and other members of the exclusive Liberty National Golf Club on Jersey City’s waterfront.

LGPA star Cristie Kerr hosted a charity golf outing today to raise money for Wall Street Warfighters, a Philadelphia-based charity that educates and helps place service-disabled veterans into jobs in the finance industry.

With the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of Manhattan as a backdrop, some 72 recent veterans got to play a round of golf with members of the club and then match shots with Kerr around the Tom Kite-designed course’s 14th hole.

“It was for a unique, great cause at a very special time, on Memorial Day during Fleet Week,” Kerr said.

An official with the charity was thrilled.

“This was an amazing opportunity for us to raise some money and for young veterans to play some great golf,” said Katie Haddock, executive director of Wall Street Warfighters.

Greg White, a member of the club and the managing director of Oppenheimer and Co., said when Kerr first floated the idea for the event, she proposed inviting a couple of veterans. But White said he, and Kerr’s husband, Eric Stevens, encouraged her to expand it.

“I told them we should open it to a larger group,” White said.

Navy Personnel Specialist Third Class Patrick Leopold was starstruck yesterday when he noticed a locker at the club assigned to New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Using his cellphone, Leopold snapped a photo of the locker.

“There were lots of famous names down there,” he said, “but we were close to his (Manning’s) locker. It’s not every day you see that.”

Other members of the club include New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, oil scion Billy Getty, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and venture capitalist Kenneth Langone.

Kerr called the golf outing the “opportunity of a lifetime,” a statement Navy Engineman Second Class Jonathon Campbell agreed with.

“It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience,” he said, “even if she did show us up on the 14th hole.”

Today’s outing raised about $14,000 for Wall Street Warfighters, with roughly 80 members of the club making donations, according to a spokeswoman for the club, which is slated to host the Barclays Championship next year.

“Hopefully next year we can double it in size,” Kerr said.