GLADSTONE, New Jersey – Brittany Lincicome is finally back at Hamilton Farm, four years after winning the LPGA’s match-play event on the hilly course.
“It’s a hidden gem,” Lincicome said Wednesday after her morning pro-am round in the Sybase Match Play Championship. “If you weren’t looking for it, you would never find it. It’s so amazing. It’s always in good shape.”
In 2006 at Hamilton Farm, the long-hitting Lincicome beat Michelle Wie, Lorena Ochoa and Juli Inkster in the final three matches for the first of her three LPGA victories. Coming off a playoff loss to Se Ri Pak on Sunday in Mobile, Alabama, Lincicome will open against Beatriz Recari on Thursday.
“I played great last week,” said Lincicome, seeded 16th in the 64-player field. “I drove it well and putted amazingly. I had only 25 putts one of the days, which is really low for me. If I can keep it under 30, normally, I’m doing pretty well. If I keep driving it well and make some putts, we’ll see what happens this week.”
Wie, seeded eighth, will face Stacy Prammanasudh in the first round. Wie won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico in November for her first LPGA title and has two top-six finishes in six events this year.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Wie said. “She’s a very good competitor. I’ve played with her a lot the last couple of years.”
The top 32 seeds selected their opponents in a blind draw Tuesday.
Top-ranked Jiyai Shin drew South Korean compatriot Kyeong Bae. Shin took over the top spot when Ochoa retired three weeks ago after the Tres Marias Championship.
“Match play is fun, but if you lose, you go home,” Shin said Tuesday.
Second-seeded Ai Miyazato, the Japanese star who has won three of the first six events of the year, will open against Jeong Jang. In 2007 at Wykagyl Country Club in the LPGA’s last match-play tournament, Miyazato lost to Seon Hwa Lee in the final.
“I love match play,” Miyazato said. “I’m really happy that I have played so well so far. I’m just trying to do my best this week to keep it going.”
Third-seeded Suzann Pettersen, also part of the playoff Sunday in Alabama, drew Hall of Famer Inkster for the first round.
“You’re going to have to beat them sometime, so you might as well start off with a tough one,” the 50-year-old Inkster said. “She’s a hell of a player, so I’m going to have to play great and not make any mistakes.”
After two seasons without an individual match-play event, Natalie Gulbis is excited the tournament is back on the schedule – and back at Hamilton Farm.
“It was really sad when we left here,” said Gulbis, set to open against Candie Kung. “It’s a fun match-play golf course. I love match play. It’s my favorite format in golf.”
Yani Tseng and Hee Kyung Seo also have won events this year, leaving U.S. players winless in seven tournaments since Wie’s November victory in Mexico.
“We need to play better. They’re just beating us,” said Morgan Pressel, a winner two weeks ago on the Japanese tour.