RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Her heart racing and her hands shaking, Brittany Lincicome did whatever she could to keep it together on the final holes of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
She breathed deep. She and her caddie sang country songs, mostly Sugarland and Kenny Chesney.
It worked. She hit two brilliant shots on 18 to set up a 4-foot eagle putt that she rolled in to win her first major on Sunday.
“I can’t even describe it,” Lincicome said moments after taking the traditional plunge into the lake that surrounds the 18th green. “It’s surreal, really.”
Never worse than three strokes behind in the final round, Lincicome stayed close as her good friend Kristy McPherson and Cristie Kerr traded the lead back and forth on a perfect day at Mission Hills.
Trailing McPherson by one stroke, the 23-year-old Lincicome broke through with an amazing sequence of shots on the par-5, 485-yard 18th.
McPherson calls Lincicome “Bam-Bam” because of the length of her drives, and Lincicome lived up to that by booming a 275-yard drive down the middle of the fairway.
“It just came down to 18, and luckily my length is a strong point and I bombed it out there and went for the green,” Lincicome said.
She hit a hybrid from 210 yards that cleared the water and landed on the upper part of the green, with the ball curling down just above the hole.
“Please be good,” Lincicome said as she watched the ball fly through the desert air, then smiled when it was.
“Right when I hit it, it came off the clubface and it was exactly where we were trying to hit it and it took the slope like I was hoping it was going to, and it was really close, thank God,” Lincicome said. “If I had to make anything further than that . . . my hands were shaking so bad, I was almost crying. The fans were so great and cheering for me and just walking up there was a great feeling.”
Kerr rolled in a birdie putt from the fringe to tie McPherson, but Lincicome made it a moot point when she made her putt to finish with a 3-under 69. She pumped her fist and hugged McPherson, who finished tied for second with Kerr, one shot back.
CASCAIS, Portugal – Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland earned his first European Tour win by beating Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain on the third playoff hole at the Estoril Open on Sunday.
Both players had finished at 7-under 277 at the Oitavos Dunes course.