Brittany Lincicome beats darkness, weather to win LPGA season-opener

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Brittany Lincicome beats darkness, weather to win LPGA season-opener

LPGA Tour

Brittany Lincicome beats darkness, weather to win LPGA season-opener

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas –  Brittany Lincicome played lights out in the Bahamas, taking her eighth LPGA title under an artificial glow. After blustery conditions suspended play throughout the week, players had to hustle to avoid a Monday finish at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.

Lincicome, playing in the final group, wasn’t about to let darkness keep her on the island, telling officials on the 17th hole that they’d better not blow that horn until she got to the final tee. She was determined to make her 8 a.m. flight Monday, even if it meant running down the fairway and putting out in the dark.

Turns out Lincicome is a master at night golf, hitting a 71-yard shot out of the back side of a divot to 6 feet. She then drained the birdie putt under a stadium light, noting that it was positioned on the wrong side of the green.

“I missed my nap today,” joked Lincicome at the end of an eventful 27-hole Sunday. The 32-year-old was so revved up after the victory, she threatened to pull an all-nighter.

“Where can I play next week?” she said.

Unfortunately for Lincicome, the LPGA now takes two weeks off.

The Ocean Club victory marked Lincicome’s eighth career title and first successful defense, something she said was “totally on my bucket list.”

Lincicome’s closing 7-under 66 gave her a 12-under 207 total and a two-shot victory over Wei-Ling Hsu in the wind-shortened 54-hole event. Shanshan Feng and Amy Yang placed three back at 9 under.

The tournament looked destined for a Monday finish when play came to a screeching halt on the 16th tee. Lincicome and her playing partners waited 25 minutes before teeing off on the watery par 4, which had a back-left hole location and a strong left-to-right wind.

World No. 1 Feng handed out beef jerky to her playing partners as they passed the time.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have shared with Brittany,” Feng said, laughing.

Lincicome’s clutch up and down from the bunker on the 16th matched a similar feat from 2017. It took 44 minutes for the final group to play that hole. From there Lincicome striped a 7-iron to 12 feet on the par-17th and converted the birdie putt.

The 72nd hole was a finish she won’t soon forget.

Lincicome’s caddie, Missy Pederson analyzed her boss’ stats over the offseason and pointed out areas of improvement, particularly with her wedges. Pederson had assured Lincicome that these incremental changes would make a big difference.

It didn’t take long to prove her right.

“We’re not going to be out practicing for four hours, that’s not what we do,” Pederson said. “If we can take a 20, 30-minute moment and turn that into something really productive, this is what happens.”

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