Brittany Lincicome wins Kraft Nabisco with eagle on the 72nd

By Randall MellApril 5, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 Kraft Nabisco ChampionshipRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. ' Brittany Lincicomes father made his escape to the back of the 18th green and pressed his cell phone hard to his ear.
 
In the giddy aftermath of one of the most spectacular shots ever hit to win a major championship, Tom Lincicome stuck a finger in his uncovered ear to better hear his wife back at their home in Seminole, Fla. In the dizzying moments after his daughter made eagle to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship, he kept dialing until he made the connection.
 
Brittany Lincicome
Brittany Lincicome eagled the final hole to win her first major championship. (Getty Images)
So what did you think of that? he coolly asked when his wife, Angie, finally answered.
 
Oh my God, she howled.
 
Lincicomes shot from 210 yards at the famed Dinah Shore Tournament Course finishing hole seemed other worldly given the pressure and nerves she said were nearly overwhelming in her bid to win her first major championship. She had 190 yards to carry the water in front of the green.
 
Setting up behind the ball with a grip hybrid, the equivalent of a 3-iron, she could barely steady the club before making her practice swings.
 
My hands are shaking, and my heart is racing, Lincicome said of the moment. Im trying to calm myself down by breathing or singing or whatever I can possibly do.
 
One of the longest hitters on tour, Lincicomes shot took a towering arc that seemed to go right through the heavens before nestling on a slope that funneled the ball straight at the pin.
 
My heart was pumping, too, but I wasnt going to let Brittany know that, said Tara Bateman, Lincicomes caddie. I knew she was nervous. Shes been talking about how shes been dealing with nervousness, but that shot was money right from the start.
 
Lincicome, 23, still had to make the 4-footer for eagle to avoid a three-way playoff with her closest friend, Kristy McPherson, and 11-time LPGA winner Cristie Kerr. That wasnt any easier than Lincicomes long second shot into that final hole.
 
If I had to make anything further than (4 feet) . . . my hands were shaking so bad, I was almost crying, she said after making the traditional victory leap into Poppies Pond with her father and her caddie.
 
The ending was a fitting finish to a thrilling final round.
 
With a 3-under-par 69, Lincicome walked away at 9-under 279, claiming the $300,000 first-place check and her third LPGA victory.
 
It was the first time a major ended with Americans finishing 1-2-3 since Hilary Lunke, Angela Stanford and Kelly Robbins finished that way at the 2003 U.S. Womens Open.
 
The day featured so many wild turns, it seemed destined to end with yet another.
 
Brittany was telling me at the turn, `Dude, Im going to have a heart attack, McPherson said. Anytime she was nervous, she came over to me to calm down.
 
Lincicome recently signed up to work with Vision 54 founders Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott to help her mental game. She said she sang Sugarland and Kenny Chesney songs with McPherson to steady her nerves.
 
It all helped Lincicome finish strong. She never led in that final round until rolling in her last putt.
 
Down by one shot to McPherson, who was seeking to make her first LPGA victory a major, Lincicome missed a 5-foot birdie chance at the 17th that would have pulled her into a tie for first place.
 
Still, Tom Lincicome felt good about the possibilities at the 18th. The tees were up to 485 yards at the par 5 finishing hole that has featured so many dramatic conclusions over the years.
 
As long as Brittany is, with the wind blowing at her back, I was thinking, `Here we go, green light special, Tom said.
 
Lincicome, who was second in driving distance for the week, slammed her drive 50 yards past McPherson to set up her final full shot.
 
Kerr, who also trailed McPherson by a shot going to the 72nd hole, finished strong despite some shaky play through the back nine. Kerr buried an 18-foot birdie at the final hole to tie McPherson, then waited to see what Lincicome would do. McPherson missed her 45-foot birdie chance there.
 
It was exciting, to say the least, Kerr said of the days thrust and parries and lead changes. Brittany, I think, made the least amount of mistakes and ended up hitting an amazing shot on 18 for eagle. Thats what it takes to win majors.
 
Trailing McPherson by a shot at days start, Kerr didnt take long to wrestle away the lead, making birdie at the second while McPherson made bogey. By the fifth hole, Kerr had built a three-shot lead, but she made a giant mistake on the back nine. At the 15th hole, she pulled her tee shot, apparently out of bounds, because she never found her ball. She made double bogey, which allowed McPherson to regain the lead.
 
Earlier in the week, my dad and caddie talked about how they were going to jump in (to Poppies Pond) if they had to, and every time they talked about it, it made me nervous, Lincicome said.
 
In the end, she felt all the days nerves wash away in a glorious swim.
 

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    Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

    SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

    The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

    ''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

    Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

    Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

    ''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

    Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

    ''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''

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    Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

    JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

    In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

    Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

    Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

    Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

    ''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

    Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

    ''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

    Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

    Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

    ''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

    The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

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    Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

    Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

    Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

    Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

    Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

    One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

    On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

    "I felt like I played good. I hit some good shots, missed a couple putts early and kind put myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine, my front, but rallied pretty nicely," Koepka said. "I felt like I found a bit of rhythm. But it's a difficult day, anything under par, level par is a good score out there today. I'm pleased with it."

    Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

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    Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

    Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

    And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

    Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.



    Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.