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

the same.

“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,”

Ward said.

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.