Brittany Lincicome, buoyed by confidence, defeats Lexi Thompson in playoff for 7th LPGA win

Brittany Lincicome, buoyed by confidence, defeats Lexi Thompson in playoff for 7th LPGA win

LPGA Tour

Brittany Lincicome, buoyed by confidence, defeats Lexi Thompson in playoff for 7th LPGA win

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Brittany Lincicome’s hands were shaking the first time she won on the LPGA and, seven titles later, not much has changed.

Sitting in the scoring tent as rain pelted the final group, Lincicome watched Lexi Thompson walk up the 18th fairway and thought, second place isn’t so bad.

That’s exactly the kind of thinking caddie Missy Pederson wants to squash. In fact, when Lincicome confessed down the stretch that she felt herself getting tight and playing conservative, Pederson told her “You’re being ridiculous.”

“Going into this week we talked about confidence,” said Lincicome. “I wanted to work on my confidence. … I’m a good player. There is no reason why we’re not in contention more, so we had this whole long talk and she told me, ‘Get out of your own way.’ ”

It worked.

Lincicome, 31, was the last one standing in Sunday’s All-American shootout at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. She two-putted for birdie on the first playoff hole at the Ocean Club to defeat fellow bomber Lexi Thompson.

Stacy Lewis finished alone in third, one shot back, and Gerina Piller came in fourth. Six of the top seven players were Americans, the best finish as a whole for the red, white and blue since the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open, also won by Lincicome.

“American golf, here we come,” said Lincicome. “It’s going to be our year.”

(It should be noted, however, that only eight of the top 20 players in the world came to the Bahamas.)

Still, it was an important victory for Lincicome, who hadn’t won since the 2015 ANA Inspiration, which she captured in a playoff against Lewis. Lincicome is projected to move from No. 48 in the Rolex Rankings to 34th. She’s now 22nd on the LPGA career money list, surpassing Betsy King with $7,787,05.

Lewis, winless since the summer of 2014, was tied for the lead when her week came unravelled in one unfortunate hole. She pulled her approach from the left rough on the par-4 14th and the ball hit the branches of a palm tree and then bounced on a cart path and into some gnarly-looking bushes.

She hoped to hit the cart path on her third shot but instead hit squarely against the curb. The ball ricocheted back into an even worse lie in the weeds. She took an unplayable and got up and down for a triple-bogey seven.

Lewis birdied two of her last four holes but it wasn’t enough to get into the playoff. She was hoping for bad weather but by the time it got brutal (four-club wind and sideways rain), she’d already dug herself a hole.

“I was telling Travis (Wilson, her caddie), we made 30-something birdies this week and played some good golf,” said Lewis. “I’m pretty happy with it.”

Thompson put in a terrific performance on the greens, perhaps the best of her career. But even her 12-under 61 in the second round wasn’t enough to send her into the winner’s circle.

Still, it was a sign of big things to come for the top American.

“This whole offseason, I swear I putted two and a half hours each day it seemed like,” said Thompson. “I was just doing nonstop putting drills just trying to get my confidence up and it showed here. It’s paying off.”

Nelly Korda, daughter of tennis champ Petr Korda and younger sister of Jessica, posted a top-five finish in her debut as an LPGA member. The 18-year-old shot 63-67 on the weekend and Jessica came out to watch her play the last few holes, snapping pictures.

“She’s walking around here like she owns the place,” said Jessica, laughing.

There’s already talk of young Korda making a run at this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup team.

The same could be said for Austin Ernst, who came close two years ago and shot four consecutive 68s in paradise to finish solo seventh.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home