Brittany Lincicome wins Kraft Nabisco with eagle on the 72nd

By Associated PressApril 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 Kraft Nabisco ChampionshipRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. ' Her heart racing and her hands shaking, Brittany Lincicome did whatever she could to kept it together on the final holes of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
She breathed deep. She and her caddie sang country songs, mostly Sugarland and Kenny Chesney.
 
It worked, because she hit two brilliant shots on 18 to set up a 4-foot eagle putt that she rolled in to win her first major on Sunday.
 
I cant even describe it, Lincicome said moments after taking the traditional plunge into the lake that surrounds the 18th green. Its surreal, really.
 
Never worse than three strokes behind in the final round, Lincicome stayed close as her good friend Kristy McPherson and Cristie Kerr traded the lead back and forth on a perfect day at Mission Hills.
 
Trailing McPherson by one stroke, the 23-year-old Lincicome broke through with an amazing sequence of shots on the par-5, 485-yard 18th.
 
McPherson calls Lincicome Bam-Bam because of the length of her drives, and Lincicome lived up to that by booming a 275-yard drive down the middle of the fairway.
 
It just came down to 18, and luckily my length is a strong point and I bombed it out there and went for the green, Lincicome said.
 
She hit a hybrid from 210 yards that cleared the water and landed on the upper part of the green, with the ball curling down just above the hole.
 
Please be good, Lincicome said as she watched the ball fly through the desert air, then smiled when it was.
 
Right when I hit it, it came off the clubface and it was exactly where we were trying to hit it and it took the slope like I was hoping it was going to, and it was really close, thank God, Lincicome said. If I had to make anything further than that my hands were shaking so bad, I was almost crying. The fans were so great and cheering for me and just walking up there was a great feeling.
 
Kerr rolled in a birdie putt from the fringe to tie McPherson, but Lincicome made it a moot point when she made her putt to finish with a 3-under 69. He pumped her fist and hugged McPherson, who finished tied for second with Kerr, one shot back.
 
It was the third career victory for Lincicome, whose previous best finish in a major was a tie for second at this tournament in 2007.
 
Playing in the all-Florida final threesome, she became the first American winner in the last six womens majors. Kerr was the last to do so in the 2007 U.S. Open.
 
After receiving her trophy, Lincicome joined hands with her father, Tom, and caddie, Tara Bateman, and jumped into the lake.
 
She was telling me at the turn, Dude, Im going to have a heart attack. My heart is beating out of my chest, McPherson said about Lincicome. Anytime she was nervous she came over to me to calm her down. She was pretty funny out there. Yeah, we talked a good bit, and yeah, it was good to have a good friend in the last group with me.
 
Lincicome, who took the first-round lead Thursday with a 66, finished with a 9-under 279. McPherson shot a 72 and Kerr a 71 on Sunday.
 
McPherson, leading by one shot heading to No. 18, was trying to hold on for her first LPGA Tour victory when Lincicome broke through. Lincicome opened the final round with seven straight pars before two straight birdies gave her a chance.
 
McPherson had a seesaw day.
 
She lost her overnight lead to Kerr on the second hole, pulled into a tie by making three birdies in four holes spanning the turn, dropped back when Kerr birdied the par-3 14th, then jumped back into the lead on the 15th when Kerr took a double-bogey after losing her ball out of bounds, hitting it through some trees and apparently clearing a wall onto Gerald Ford Drive.
 
That hole definitely owes me in the future, Kerr said.
 
In tournaments in general, but majors in specific, its such a fine line you have to walk to be able to end up winning. You have to have everything go your way. Maybe it hits the tree and drops instead of going out of bounds.
 
Lindsey Wright (70) was fourth at 6 under, while Suzann Pettersen (66) and Meaghan Francella (69) tied for fifth at 5 under.
 
Defending champion Lorena Ochoa shot a 66 for her best round of the tournament and finished in a tie for 12th at 1 under.
 
Kerr started the round one shot behind McPherson, but had a three-shot lead after five holes despite some wayward driving.
 
Kerr jumped into the lead on the par-5 second hole, despite driving into the rough and failing to extricate herself with her second shot. She had a nice approach shot and sank an 18-foot birdie putt while McPherson had a bogey after her sand shot was short of the green.
 
Kerr saved par on No. 3 despite driving into the left rough, getting a break when her lie was in grass that had been trampled by the gallery.
 
Kerr birdied No. 4 with a tricky 10-foot downhill putt, then took a three-stroke lead when McPherson bogeyed the par-3 fifth hole by hitting her tee shot into the water.
 
I felt like I was out of it early, McPherson said. Brittany started off slow, as well, and made a couple of good par saves. Cristie, she was springing up on both of us at one time.
 
But finally on the back nine we got it to where it was a good match between all three of us. Cristie and I made a few mistakes, and Brittany made a couple of great par saves to stay in there and bring it down to the 18th hole.
 

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    J.Y. Ko wins her first start as an official LPGA member

    By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 4:09 pm

    Make way for Jin Young Ko.

    The South Koreans keep delivering one new star after another to the LPGA ranks, and they aren’t going to disappoint this year.

    Ko made some history Sunday winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, closing with a 3-under-par 69 to claim a wire-to-wire victory. She became the first player in 67 years to win her LPGA debut as a tour member. Beverly Hanson (1951) is the only other player to do so.

    Hyejin Choi, an 18-year-old who just turned pro, is yet another emerging South Korean star looking to crack the LPGA ranks. She finished second Sunday, three shots back after closing with a 67. She played on a sponsor exemption. She is already No. 11 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and likely to move up when the newest rankings are released. Had Choi won Sunday, she could have claimed LPGA membership for the rest of this season.


    Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


    Ko, 22, moved herself into early position to try to follow in Sung Hyun Park’s footsteps. Park won the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards last year. She joined Nancy Lopez as the only players to do so. Lopez did it in 1978. Park shared the Player of the Year honor with So Yeon Ryu.

    Ko said winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award is a goal, but she didn’t come into the year setting her sights on Player of the Year.

    “I haven’t thought about that yet,” she said.

    Ko finished at 14 under overall.

    It was a good week for rookies. Australia’s Hannah Green (69) finished third.

    Ko claimed LPGA membership this year based on her victory as a non-member at the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea last fall. She’s already a star in South Korea, having won 10 times on the Korean LPGA Tour. She is No. 20 in the world and, like Choi, poised to move up when the newest world rankings are released.

    Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko closed with an even par 72, finishing tied for 19th in her 2018 debut. She is in next week’s field at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

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    Luiten takes title at inaugural Oman Open

    By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 3:25 pm

    MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten of the Netherlands won the inaugural Oman Open on Sunday to break a title drought of nearly 17 months.

    The 32-year-old Dutchman shot a 4-under 68 to finish on 16-under 272, two shots ahead of his friend, England's Chris Wood (69).

    It was Luiten's sixth European Tour title and the first since the 2016 KLM Open.

    Frenchman Julien Guerrier (71) virtually assured that he would not have to go to qualifying school for the 12th time with a third-place finish after a 13-under 275.

    Luiten started with three birdies in his first four holes, but bogeys on the seventh and eighth set him back. On the back nine, he made three birdies, including a key one on the 16th, where he made a 30-foot putt.

    ''It feels great. I didn't know what to expect when I came here but to play a course like this which is in great condition - it's a great technical golf course as well - it was beyond my expectation and to hold the trophy is even better,'' said Luiten, who is expected to rise to No. 65 in the new rankings on Monday.

    ''I had a great start, that's what I was hoping for. I hit some nice ones in close and rolled in a couple of nice putts and that gets you in the right position, where you want to be.


    Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic


    ''Unfortunately, I had a couple of bogeys as well on the front nine, but I recovered from that with a couple of nice birdies on the back nine and it was a good battle with Woody.''

    Playing one group ahead, England's Wood was right in the mix and tied with Luiten at 15-under when their fortunes went in opposite directions almost at the same time. On the 17th hole, Wood drove his tee shot into the hazard left and could do no more than chip his ball out for a bogey. Luiten, meanwhile, drained his 30-footer birdie putt on the 16th for a two-shot swing.

    Recovering his form after a series of disappointments, Wood was let down by the loss and said: ''It's golf isn't it? You are never happy.

    ''I played poorly for six or eight months. Would have never thought I would have put myself into contention. And when you do, you feel gutted when you don't win. I am pretty down really, but in the grand scheme of things, when I reflect after a couple of days, I will think it is a big step in the right direction.''

    Luiten's win also got him into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai, securing him a start at the WGC-Mexico Championship in two weeks.

    Frenchman Alexander Levy (70), who was hoping to finish in the top five to push into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai and grab the WGC-Mexico spot himself, did manage a joint fourth place at 11 under, but Luiten's victory kept him 11th.

    The European Tour next moves to Doha for the Qatar Masters starting on Thursday.

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    J.Y. Ko wins Women's Australian Open by three

    By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 3:10 pm

    ADELAIDE, Australia - South Korea's Jin Young Ko shot a 3-under par 69 Sunday to clinch a 3-shot, start-to-finish win the Women's Australian Open.

    Playing in her first tournament as a full LPGA member, Ko shot 65, 69, 71, 69 to lead after all four rounds and to finish with a total of 274, 14-under par at the Kooyonga Golf Club. She is the first player to win her first tournament as an LPGA member in the tour's 67-year history.

    Ko started the day four shots clear of 21-year-old Hannah Green, who was bidding to become the first Australian to win her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014.

    Green played solidly in the final group with Ko, shooting 69 and missing a birdie on the 18th which cost her a share of second place.

    The stiffest challenge Sunday came from Ko's compatriot Hyejin Choi who closed within a shot at the turn, carding four birdies on her first nine holes. Ko began with birdies at the first and second holes, then stumbled with bogeys on the par-3 third and seventh holes.

    But just as her lead came under threat, she found another gear, birdying the ninth hole to regain a two-shot lead. She then pulled away with birdies at the 13th and 17th in what seemed a nerveless finish, showing the experience gained as a 10-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour.


    Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


    She ended with a regulation par on the 18th to claim her second LPGA title after previously winning the co-sanctioned KEB-Hana Bank Championship.

    Ko said she felt ''lots'' of nerves over the final round. Asked her reaction when she holed out on 18, she said ''relief.''

    ''I thought I could do it but I felt I had to play my game and enjoy the game,'' Ko said. ''My goal this week was firstly to make the cut and second to enjoy the game.

    ''But I won this week so I don't know what that might mean. My goal is Rookie of the Year.'' Asked by a reporter whether Player of the Year was a realistic option, Ko replied: ''No, not yet.''

    Ko started the tournament ranked 20 but could be close to the top-10 by the start of the next LPGA tour stop in Thailand next weekend.

    Choi was relentless in pursuit, the only player other than Ko to beat par in all four rounds. She shot 69, 71, 70, 67 on the par-72 layout, finishing at 277, 11 under par.

    Green, in her rookie season, had rounds of 69, 74, 66, 69 to finish third at 10-under, one shot ahead of compatriot Katherine Kirk, who finished with a 7-under 65, the day's best round.

    ''I started off really well,'' Green said. ''My goal was to get into every major and I know that's quite hard being a rookie this year. So hopefully I've made enough money and keep making money to ensure I'm definitely in.''

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    G-Mac has Ryder Cup on mind with Genesis in grasp

    By Rex HoggardFebruary 18, 2018, 2:12 am

    LOS ANGELES – Graeme McDowell is four years removed from his last start in a Ryder Cup and golf is more than seven months away from this year’s matches, but then it’s never too early to start daydreaming.

    Following a third-round 70 that left him tied for third place and just two strokes off the lead at the Genesis Open, McDowell was asked if the matches are on his mind.

    “I feel like I've got a lot of things to do between now and getting on that team,” he said. “Standing here right now it's probably not a realistic goal, but if I continue to play the way I'm playing for the next few months, it may start to become a realistic goal.”


    Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

    Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


    McDowell began his week at Riviera Country Club fresh off four consecutive missed cuts and has drifted to 219th in the Official World Golf Ranking. But his play this week has been encouraging and the Northern Irishman has always relished the opportunity to play for Europe.

    “Deep down I know I'm good enough, but I've got to show, I've got to put some results on the board, I've got to take care of my business,” he said. “The greatest experience of my career bar none, and I would love to play another couple Ryder Cup matches before it's all said and done.”

    McDowell does have a potential advantage this year having won the French Open twice at Le Golf National, site of this year’s matches.