NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Gambling is an acceptable and prominent part of modern sports and everyone is looking for an edge, be it statistically or divinely.
There’s this thing called the omen bet, where someone arrives at a competitive site, let’s say Aronimink Golf Club, and the first player that person sees, he or she makes a wager on said player to win.
Upon arriving on site at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, there was Brittany Lincicome, along with her caddie, attempting to hit a ball from an awkward lie in the upper part of a greenside-like bunker. She whiffed. Nothing but grass.
Obviously, that omen wasn’t interpreted properly because Lincicome co-leads after the opening round of the women’s third major this season, having shot 3-under 67 on Thursday.
A look at Lincicome’s recent results would not portend such a beginning to this major, either. She’s made eight starts this season and has one top-40 finish, and that was at the season-opener in January.
Her last win was the season-opener in 2018.
Her last start was a missed cut.
But something positive happened at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. After shooting 76 in the opening round and meandering around the first nine in Round 2, Lincicome altered her outlook. And it worked. She made four birdies over her final seven holes, missing by a stroke, but gaining a shot of confidence.
"Something finally in my mind kind of switched in Atlantic City," she said. "Friday, I finally was like, aggressive, and kind of got out of my own way and made a bunch of birdies on the back nine ... so going into this week it was kind of going back to my Vision 54 days, which I haven't unfortunately worked with them in a while, and it's showing, just because of my brain. I've had so much time off since having Emery and taking time off and COVID. Each week it's just kind of been let's make the cut, let's make the cut, and that's not a way an eight-time winner should play golf."
Emery is Emery Reign Gouws, Lincicome's daughter, born July 8, 2019, eight weeks early.
Emery is a healthy and active 15-month-old . According to mom, she spent Saturday at Aronimink running down fairways and gleefully putting balls in the holes on the greens. She’s back home in Florida now with dad, Dewald Gouws, thus giving Lincicome a little more free time at night to eat and check out social media and, of course, FaceTime her daughter.
Lincicome took off the majority of the ’19 season because of Emery's birth and has only played sparingly this year because of the tour’s lengthy COVID-19 break.
But this is a major and Lincicome is a two-time major champion. And this is big-hitter’s ballpark and Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.”
Controlled aggression would be a good way of describing her approach this week.
"Today it was kind of trusting my process, fairways and greens, being aggressive, don't leave the putts short, and kind of just attack the golf course, and it kind of worked, which is really scary because this golf course was not easy," she said.
"I never tried to swing hard with the driver off the tee today. I was just literally, 'Get it in the fairway and then worry about the next shot,' and then on the green aiming in very specific spots. Sometimes we could go at the pin, sometimes we had to go away from the pin, just depending on what the wind was doing. So it was just swinging slower, not getting quick."
And if she can continue this successful approach for three more days, perhaps she'll have a shiny new toy for Emery to play with back home.
"Oh, gosh," Lincicome said at the thought of winning as a mom. "That's like – I mean, I say this, but if I could do that, like that would be the icing on my career and I could probably retire."