NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — Brittany Lincicome raised both arms above her head as her 116-yard drive dropped onto the green and rolled in for an eagle on the 17th hole.
The crowd burst into applause and Lincicome flashed a smile, a moment of genuine triumph despite knowing the end of her run in the Barbasol Championship loomed at the next hole.
Despite shooting 1-under-par 71 in a strong second round Saturday, Lincicome finished 36 holes in 5-over par 149 and failed to make the cut for the tournament’s third round.
“It was cool just to be inside the ropes with the guys, and it’s been a dream come true playing in this event,” Lincicome said. ” A lot of people don’t realize how good (LPGA golfers) are.”
As she prepared to make history this week as only the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, Lincicome received advice from a few of the LPGA greats who had walked the path before her.
Annika Sorenstam told her to stay off social media and watch a movie to relax the night before the tournament; instead, Lincicome scrolled Twitter after eating dinner with her family.
Michelle Wie advised her to just have fun; “That didn’t get me anywhere,” Lincicome joked after finishing her second round.
Lincicome understood the greater significance of her accomplishments to the sport, yet she was determined to memorialize her experience in such a way that she could treasure some moments for herself.
As she does at every tournament, she kept a ball marker to give to her brother, but otherwise took no souvenirs from her first PGA event. The memories were enough.
“I’ll remember this forever,” she said.
The 17th-hole eagle was a definite highlight, a parting gift to the fans who lined the fairways all week to lend her their support.
“It was a great grip gap wedge and it’s one of my favorite shots,” Lincicome said. “Once I saw it land on the top I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve got half of it done,’ and then when it went in that couldn’t have ended my week any better.”
Lincicome didn’t rule out the possibility of returning to play in the Barbasol next year, and said her biggest takeaway from the tournament was steeling her nerves.
“We all know how to play golf. That’s not the hard part,” she said. “It’s more just all the media attention, all the fans watching … It’s more the mental part than anything.”
After making just one birdie in a 6-over 78 first round, Lincicome made five birdies — including three straight — to break par Saturday.
Lincicome strolled off the 18th hole to generous applause, but after a few minutes of signing autographs and talking to reporters she had already mentally moved on to the next few days of relaxation before the Women’s British Open.
She was eager to watch the replay of her eagle online and then drive to go visit her grandmother, who lives three hours away.
And Lincicome said she planned to spend Tuesday and Wednesday out on a boat fishing with her husband, Dewald Gouws.
“He likes to catch dinner, and I like to catch bigger and better,” she said. “I just want to go catch Moby Dick.”
She may never catch the legendary whale, but Lincicome’s run at the Barbasol ensured her name will be mentioned among legends for years to come.