Lincicome and McPhersons major friendship

By Randall MellApril 15, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Brittany Lincicome tapped out the text message a couple days ago.
 
You still mad at me?
 
Kristy McPherson has been getting these kinds of messages from Lincicome for two weeks now, and she couldnt resist a playful retort.
 
My brothers are mad at you, McPherson answered back.
 
This is the kind of fun McPherson has been having since Lincicome beat her at the Kraft Nabisco Championship with one of the greatest shots ever hit at the end of a major championship.
2009 Kraft Nabisco
Lincicome chips onto the green on the fifth hole during the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club. (Getty Images)

The 22-degree hybrid Lincicome used to carve a shot from 210 yards to 4 feet to set up her winning eagle should have broken McPhersons heart, and Cristie Kerrs for that matter. Lincicome beat them both by a shot at Mission Hills Dinah Shore Tournament Course, but there was a different dynamic in play for McPherson.
 
Lincicome, 23, and McPherson, 27, are close friends.
 
Nearly every week, when theyre playing the same tour event, youll find Lincicome and McPherson together, battling it out in a card game, typically Spades. Its usually Lincicome and Meredith Duncan against McPherson and Angela Stanford.
 
I wish Meredith and I could win a little more at cards, Lincicome said.
 
Lincicomes fantastic finish was the kind of blow that could test the true nature of their friendship, but it doesnt appear to have altered their bond at all. It has only allowed McPherson to have some fun with the guilt Lincicome expresses whenever they pick up their cell phones to speak or text, which theyve done practically every day since the Kraft Nabisco.
 
Brittanys like, `Dude, I didnt mean to hit it that close, McPherson said. Its something Ill always give her a hard time about.
 
But if youre going to get beat, thats the way to get beat, by a best friend with a shot like that. Its not like I chunked a ball in the water or beat myself.
 
Lincicome is still glowing over her first major championship. Shes being recognized more now, and that will only continue with her Major League Baseball pitching debut approaching. OK, its just a single pitch that doesnt count, but Lincicome is excited about the Tampa Rays invitation to throw out the first ball when the Rays play the Boston Red Sox on April 30 at Tropicana Field. Lincicome grew up in Pinellas Park, Fla., about 15 minutes from the ballpark.
 
Shortly after returning home after the Kraft Nabisco, Lincicome showed up at Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club in Largo, Fla., to meet with local media. Club members there perused through her bag looking for the other star in Lincicomes victory, the Adams Idea Pro Hybrid that set up Lincicomes winning eagle. She isnt about to take the club out of play and mount it on some wall just yet.
 
Its staying in my bag, said Lincicome, a three-time LPGA winner. Its one of my favorite clubs. I had a few people at the course who wanted to know if they could look at it, or touch it, to see if the good vibes would rub off.
 
Lincicome is in Daytona Beach this week, where her boyfriend is throwing a belated victory party. The celebration had to wait because Lincicome spent only a few days at home after her victory before flying back out west for the Vision 54 School in Phoenix. Thats Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriotts school, which is built on their philosophy and book, 'Every Shot Must Have a Purpose.'
 
Its the first time a major championship winner has attended our school, Nilsson said. It was really cool.
 
Lincicomes attendance a week after winning her first major shows just how determined she is to avoid the letdown so many first-time major champions experience. After a depressing 2008 season, when Lincicome finished a career-low 92nd on the money list with just one top-10 finish, shes determined to keep building on her momentum. A swing change initiated in the off season is part of that. So is the new approach Vision 54 brings to her game.
 
Before the Kraft Nabisco started, Lincicome got a short preview session from Nilsson and Marriott. She implemented their suggestion that she visit a happy place after bad shots, by singing or thinking about fishing, a favorite hobby.
 
Going to a happy place is an idea that really helped Brittany, said Tom Lincicome, Brittanys father. Before, when Brittany hit a bad shot, she would take a couple holes before she came out of it. At Kraft, after a bad shot, you couldnt tell.
 
Vision 54 helped Lincicome immensely.
 
So did playing the final round with McPherson, who grew up in Conway, S.C. Lincicome met her in a tour fellowship meeting two seasons ago.
 
I dont think Kristy and I ever played together in an LPGA tournament before, Lincicome said. It was ironic it would come in the final round of a major, but it was awesome to have her out there with me.
 
Walking to the 10th tee for the back-nine finish, Lincicome grabbed McPhersons hand and wouldnt let go. Nilsson couldnt have prescribed a more calming tactic to settle Lincicome for what was to come. McPherson was playing in her first Kraft Nabisco and just her fifth major. She has never won an LPGA event, but she showed almost no nerves under final-round pressure.
 
Brittany was squeezing my fingers and telling me that her heart was going to beat out of her chest, McPherson said. We still laugh about that. I dont know why I was so calm. Maybe it was because I was with her.
 
Nilsson saw the benefit the pairing was having as she watched on TV.
 
The pairing had a calming effect on Brittany, you could see that, Nilsson said. You could see what good friends they are when Kristy almost made the hole-in-one on the 17th. Brittany looked happier about it than Kristy was.
 
Though McPherson took a one-shot lead to the 72nd hole, she didnt walk away crushed. Shes taking her strong play as a positive while being surprised at how much attention shes getting for a second-place finish.
 
Walking Augusta National as a spectator at the Masters last week, McPherson was moved by how many patrons recognized her.
 
Quite a few people said they were pulling for me, McPherson said.
 
Pat Green, the country music singer, called McPherson to encourage her. They met once in a golf outing.
 
He said he spent his birthday watching the Kraft Nabiscos final round and couldnt turn off his TV, McPherson said.
 
McPherson joined Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam as the only LPGA players at the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday after the Masters Pro-Am in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The bands lead singer, Darius Rucker, made a point of congratulating McPherson. So did Sorenstam, who sought out McPherson at the concert and hugged her.
 
She was really supportive and said she looked forward to watching me the rest of the year, McPherson said. That was great.
 
The biggest boost McPherson got from the Kraft Nabisco was her jump to No. 8 in the U.S. Solheim Cup standings. The top 10 in points automatically qualify for the Aug. 21-23 event at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Lincicome is 12th in points. The duo would relish being teammates in the biennial competition against Europe.
 
Its every Americans dream to play for your country, McPherson said.
 
That might be more a nightmare for Europe given the strength that McPherson and Lincicome can give each other.
 

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    Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

    WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

    It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

    Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

    ''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

    The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

    It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

    ''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

    ''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

    A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

    ''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

    Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

    ''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

    ''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

    Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

    Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

    ''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

    Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.


    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


    The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

    McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.