Brittany Lincicome shoots 11-under 61 to grab lead at CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge
Perhaps it’s an omen for the weekend. In the land of Tim
Lincecum, Brittany Lincicome went to the top of the hill Thursday
and blew away Blackhawk Country Club, as well as the field at the
CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge.
She did it in almost freakish fashion, too. Lincicome shot an
opening-round 61 — the best round on the
Tour this year, her career best by
three strokes and the best score ever recorded at Blackhawk’s
Lakeside course, male or female — to take a commanding four-stroke
lead over Wendy Ward. Moira Dunn was alone in third at 66.
Lincicome posted 11 birdies and no bogeys, which might equate to
an 11-strikeout, no-walk pitching performance by her sort-of
namesake. Tim and Brittany have never met and aren’t related as far
as she knows, even though they pronounce their last names exactly
“I wish we were related,” she said. “That would be awesome. Free
baseball for the rest of my life.”
They do have a few things in common, however. They’re barely
more than a year apart in age — Lincicome is 25, Lincecum is 26 —
and they’ve both been on a serious roll of late. Lincicome shot a
7-under 65 in the final round of last week’s Navistar LPGA Classic
in Prattville, Ala., finishing second, and now has 19 birdies and
just one bogey over her last two rounds.
Where they differ is that the Florida native Lincicome is a
hitter, and a power threat at that. She said she played baseball
against the boys growing up, and earlier this year, won a home run
derby against fellow pros during the Bell Micro LPGA Classic. She
doesn’t think she could hit Lincecum, though.
“No, probably not,” she said. “But I’m a huge (Tampa Bay) Rays
fan, and I know a couple of the guys. I’m like, ‘Will you please
pitch to me this offseason?’ They’re like, ‘You’re not going to be
able to hit it.’ I’m like, ‘I can at least try.’ “
With golf clubs, though, no problem. She’s third in driving
distance on tour with a 268.8-yard average. She stepped that up to
a 284-yard average on Blackhawk’s dry, firm fairways Thursday,
going for the green in two on all but one of the course’s five
par-5s, scoring birdies on four of them.
She also closed with a rush, with birdies on six of the last
seven holes, including the final four. On her closing hole, the
par-5 ninth, she hit over the green on her second shot, chipped off
an embankment of rough to within 13 feet and nailed the putt. It
was typical of her amazing day.
“I was making everything,” she said. “I think I had 24 or 25
putts (she had 24). It was pretty crazy, even for myself. I mean, I
was making 5-footers and 30-footers. It was just one of those days
everything was going my way, and I couldn’t do anything wrong.”
Lincicome’s 11-under round tied five other players for the
second-best ever on tour. Annika Sorenstam set the record of
13-under 59 in 2001.
Second-place Ward, a close friend of Lincicome’s out of Edwall,
Wash., could only look at the scoreboard in awe despite carding a
very impressive round herself.
“If she continues to hit the ball well and roll it well on the
greens, you could be looking at a record-setting score this week,”
Lincicome has three tour victories but hasn’t won this year and
has never had an early advantage like this. She contemplated
calling former LPGA standout and current Golf Channel commentator
Val Skinner, with whom she had dinner last week. Skinner bragged a
bit during the meal about shooting her own low of 61.
“Maybe she can help me, just a kind of, ‘What do you do?’ ”
Lincicome said. “Obviously, I’m going to go out tomorrow and try to
do the things I was doing today. I’m not going to anticipate making
11 birdies. Just make birdies when I can and not make
It wasn’t the best day for some of the bigger names. Cristie
Kerr, ranked second in the world, shot a 1-over 73, as did
Pleasanton native Paula Creamer and San Leandro native Pat Hurst.
They were tied for 62nd in the field of 108. Defending champion
Sophie Gustafson shot an even-par 72, and two-time champion Juli
Inkster of Los Altos shot 75.
Note: It’s been common knowledge since August that CVS/pharmacy
is dropping out as a tour sponsor after this season, which leaves
the future of the event at Blackhawk in limbo. But LPGA
commissioner Mike Whan said Thursday that every effort is being
made to find a new sponsor that will keep its Northern California
tour stop at Blackhawk and possibly even move it to a more
favorable position on the schedule. “It seems like we’ve got so
many of the pieces together. Now we just need to find that one name
to put out in front,” Whan said.