WHERE EAGLES DARE: Brittany Lincicome eagled the 72nd hole to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Lincicome started the final hole trailing good friend Kristy McPherson by one, then struck a hybrid from 210 yards to 4 feet. McPherson missed a birdie putt to ensure a playoff, prior to Lincicome knocking in the winning effort.
This triumph ' in the eyes of the fans and media ' will get lost over the years, but Lincicome's shot on 18 was as clutch as any in major history. Perhaps the coolest part was that, with everything on the line, she and McPherson still high-fived fans while making their way to the 18th green. Great finish all-around to the first major of the season.
MISS AMERICA(S): For the first time since Cristie Kerr won the 2007 U.S. Women's Open, an American-born player is a major champion. The final threesome was all American, including Lincicome, McPherson and Kerr. Kerr birdied the final hole to match McPherson, but was upstaged by Lincicome.
One American no where to be found was Michelle Wie. After opening in 1-under 71, she shot back-to-back 81s, before finishing with another 71 for a tie for 67th among the 70 players to make the cut.
IT'S ALWAYS BEEN HIS LUCKY NUMBER: Paul Casey, playing in his 77th PGA Tour event, won for the first time, defeating J.B. Holmes on the first hole of sudden death at the Shell Houston Open. Casey bogeyed the par-4 18th, which was playing well above an average of five strokes for the field during the day, to force overtime, but won it with a bogey in the extra session as Holmes, who had finished nearly 2 1/2 hours earlier, hit his tee shot into the water. Had Holmes won he would have qualified for the Masters.
The win should give Casey some momentum heading into Augusta, where he will try and become the fifth player to claim the green jacket after winning the week before on Tour. The 31-year-old Englishman moved to sixth in the world ranking.
WHAT WERE YOU WATCHING?: Golf fans were faced with the perfect clicker situation Sunday as both the Kraft Nabisco and the Shell Houston Open were winding down at about the same time. With Fred Couples still in the mix in Houston, and the final holes coming up, Lincicome and company were wrapping up the first major of the season in Rancho Mirage.
If you could only have watched one ' not knowing how it was going to play out ' you had to go with the Kraft. It featured three intriguing characters, all in the same, final group. And it was a major. Fortunately, thanks to modern technology, you didn't have to choose. You just had to hope you were watching the right event at the right time ' trust me, it was worth missing Couples implode to watch the final few holes on the LPGA.
PREVIEW WE DIDN'T WANT TO SEE: Shell Houston Open officials tried to simulate Augusta National conditions as much as possible. Unfortunately, they had no control over Mother Nature, who whipped her winds all over the Redstone course causing a suspension of play Thursday and a brutally difficult elements Sunday.
Phil Mickelson badly missed the cut and it may have been the best thing that could have happened to him. He didn't have to stick around for an extra-long weekend and worry about wearing himself out. Hopefully what we saw Sunday, particularly in the final round, will not carry over to Augusta: Padraig Harrington 77; Greg Norman 81; Sergio Garcia 81.
BAD DRIVE: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion Dustin Johnson was arrested last Monday in South Carolina and charged with driving under the influence.
For a professional tour that doesn't like to see its players with their shirt tails untucked or faces unshaven, this won't go over well in Ponte Vedra Beach. After the Masters, it could be a little while before we see Mr. Johnson again at a Tour event.
MR. MULLIGAN: Seve Ballesteros spoke publicly for the first time since the world learned of his fight with a cancerous brain tumor. In a two-part Spanish newspaper interview, Ballesteros spoke positively despite being 33 pounds less than he was before being admitted to the hospital.
Ballesteros spoke of opening a course near his home in northern Spain. He also spoke of having his life return to normal. It's hard to imagine his life ' at any time ' as anything less than extraordinary.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee defeated reigning British Amateur champion Reiner Sexton, 2 and 1, in the Georgia Cup. ... Michael Hoey won his first European Tour event in Portugal. ... Australian Michael Sim won by six on the Nationwide Tour.
For $1,000 I couldn't have told you who the reigning British Amateur champion was. He sounds like a mountain climber. ... Maybe Hoey could be Sexton's Sherpa. ... So, for once, it was the LPGA who produced the only American winner of the week.