At the end of a wild final round, Brittany Lincicome made par on the third playoff hole to outlast Stacy Lewis and win the ANA Inspiration. Here’s what went down in the final round at Mission Hills:
Leaderboard: Lincicome (-9), Lewis (-9), Morgan Pressel (-8)
What it means: The win is Lincicome’s second major victory and her second ANA Inspiration title. (She won the former Kraft Nabisco Championship back in 2009.) The win is also a bit of redemption for the 29-year-old, who coughed up a one-shot lead on the final hole at last year’s LPGA Championship before losing to Inbee Park in a playoff. Four back to start the day, Lincicome made the turn at 1 under and rattled off 10 straight pars, from Nos. 8 through 17, before closing with a dramatic eagle on the 72th hole to post 9 under and ultimately wind up in a playoff with Lewis. After dodging three bullets in the form of missed putts from Lewis, Lincicome tapped in for par on the third extra hole and finally ended the proceedings just before sunset.
Best of the rest: Three back to start the day, Lewis was 4 under through 12 and actually held a two-shot lead on the back nine before slipping up with bogeys on Nos. 13 and 15. She had three consecutive putts to win the tournament with a birdie on the 18th green - once in regulation and twice in the playoff – but couldn’t get any of them, including a lip-out, to fall. Then, on her fourth trip down 18, she found herself stuck in a divot in the middle of the fairway. Her third shot – from the divot – landed short of the green and she failed to get up and down from the apron, settling for a bogey and the loss. Separately, Pressel finished just one shot out of the playoff and nearly made an eagle of her own on 18, as her approach shot to the final green almost found the bottom of the cup. She tapped in for birdie to finish solo third at 8 under.
Round of the day: Four over through three rounds, Gerina Piller finished in red numbers after a 7-under 65, tying Sei Young Kim for the round of the week. Piller made eight birdies against a lone bogey to vault herself from a tie for 58th into a tie for 20th at 3 under for the championship.
Biggest disappointment: Kim started the day with a three-shot lead and played a roller-coaster final round opposite Lewis, carding five birdies, four bogeys and two double bogeys en route to a 3-over 75 and a three-way tie for fourth place. Kim was just one shot behind Lewis with two holes to play before a three-putt bogey on the par-3 17th largely ended her chances. A downhill eagle chip on the final green slid by and Kim finished two shots out of a playoff.
Shot of the day: Unquestionably, Lincicome’s second shot on the 18th in regulation. Her 5-iron approach landed in the middle of the green and ran all the way to back collar before circling the edge of the green and funneling back down to the hole, leading to an eagle, a playoff and eventually a win.
Quote of the day: “[I’m] super emotional. We played that hole so many times, and the first time it felt fairly easy because I thought I was so far out of this tournament that I never had a chance. So hitting the 5-iron on the green that time was easy, and now I’m standing here shaking like a leaf still. I’m still shaking.” - Lincicome