Brittany Lincicome: 'I learned a lot this week'
Alas, Brittany Lincicome didn’t get to ride a horse, visit a bourbon distillery or become the second female golfer to make the cut at a PGA Tour event, but at least the LPGA star finished her unique week with a flourish.
After struggling to a 78 in Thursday’s first round of the Barbasol Championship at the Champions at Keene Trace, the sixth female to ever play in a PGA Tour event shot a 1-under par 71 in Saturday’s second round, which included five birdies and a stellar eagle on the par-5, 17th hole.
“When it went in,” Lincicome said, “that couldn’t have ended my week any better.”
And what a week it was for the 32-year-old Floridian, who has won eight LPGA events, including two majors, and accepted the invitation to follow in the footsteps of Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1938 and 1945), Shirley Spork (1952), Annika Sorenstam (2003), Suzy Whaley (2003) and Michelle Wie (eight events from 2004-08) and play a tour event against the guys.
“It was cool just to be inside the ropes with the guys,” she said. “It’s been a dream come true playing in this event.”
Lincicome reached out to Wie for advice — “That didn’t get me anywhere,” she joked Saturday — and called Sorenstam on Wednesday. Annika told her to relax and watch a movie the night before play. Instead, Lincicome “messed around on social media, which she told me not to do.”
She admitted to being a bundle of nerves Thursday, which led to a triple bogey at No. 7 and a double bogey at No. 18. She then spent four-and-a-half hours at Champions on Friday never to make it to the tee thanks to the damaging storms that hit the area.
Because of those storms, the public was not allowed on the course Saturday until 9:30 a.m., two hours after play had resumed, which might have been a plus.
“It felt like just me and the guys out there,” said Lincicome, who played with Sam Ryder and Conrad Shindler. “I felt so much calmer.”
It showed. After bogeying No. 4 and No. 5, Lincicome got on a roll, birdieing six, seven and eight. She birdied 10 and 14 on the back nine before her eagle at 17 and finished 5 over for the tournament, nine shots behind the cut line, leaving Zaharias as the only female to make the cut in a PGA event.
One of the longest hitters on the LPGA Tour — her nickname is “Bam-Bam” — Lincicome was surely hurt by fairways turned soft by the rain. “I needed it firm and fast,” she said.
Having arrived in Lexington at midnight Monday after playing a pro-am, Lincicome found herself too busy to do much sightseeing, though she did rent a house with her husband and parents. Still, she pronounced the experience a success with lessons she can take back to the LPGA Tour.
“I obviously was a lot more nervous coming into this week than a normal LPGA event,” she said Saturday. “We have the (Women’s) British Open coming up in a couple of weeks, and I feel like when I get there I should be able to kind of relax and calm down a little bit more than normal. This week has taught me a lot.”
It also won her fans on the course — “The guys out here were amazing. They were super welcoming” — and off, especially those in the gallery who followed her around the course.
“They were cheering for me every time I hit a shot,” Lincicome said. “They were really behind me and I could feel it out there.”
To her surprise, the same was true of social media, where she worried about the haters but instead found mostly encouragement. “I literally only had to block two people. I think all-in-all, it was a pretty great week.”
Now, however, it’s back home to Florida, where Lincicome said she and her husband, Dewald Gouws, will be out fishing on Tuesday. Dewald likes to catch dinner while Brittany goes for the bigger fish. “I guess I want to catch Moby Dick,” she said.
Would she play a men’s tournament again?
“Never say never,” Lincicome said before adding, “I’ll remember this one forever.”