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Brittany Lincicome enjoys newfound adulation after winning LPGA's first major

Less than 24 hours after "the shot'' and Brittany Lincicome was trying to eat some breakfast. She was at a prescheduled charity golf outing for the Betty Ford Clinic in California, but after a dramatic win at the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Sunday, Lincicome was royalty to this group of golf fans.

"I haven't even gotten to sit down and eat breakfast yet,'' she said Monday by phone. "It's a good problem to have. Maybe I'll lose a few pounds.''

Lincicome hadn't slept much either. There were media obligations, a taco party in best friend and playing partner Kristy McPherson's room, and a trip with her dad, Tom, to pick up a rental car.

"I didn't go to bed until 11:30 when I wanted to go to bed at 8,'' Lincicome said.

Lincicome, a Seminole native who played at Seminole High and bought a home in town, is $300,000 richer after her win. But more important, she is the champion of an LPGA major. At 23, she is the second-youngest winner of the tournament. Lincicome took the traditional jump into the lake off the 18th green with her father and caddie, Tara Bateman.

And for years to come, when highlights of the 2009 tournament are shown, Lincicome's 210-yard second shot to the par-5 18th green will run over and over. Trailing McPherson by a shot, Lincicome hit her hybrid left of the hole. It rolled past, then trickled down the hill, settling 4 feet from the stick.

The crowd roared as the ball rolled closer and closer. Game, set, match. The eagle putt won the tournament by one shot. She said it still seems like a dream.

"This morning I had to get up at 6:30 to go to the bathroom and we weren't getting up until 7:15 and dad patted me on the back when I got back in the room,'' Lincicome said. "I was like, 'Was that a dream? Did I just have the worst dream ever because now it's not true?' And he said, 'No, it was true.'

"It's pretty cool. To pull off that shot with so much pressure. My nerves — and my stomach was hurting. With all those emotions going on, to hit that shot was pretty awesome.''

Lincicome said she was a bundle of nerves all day, relying on Bateman to keep her calm. They sang country music songs between shots. Bateman rubbed her back as they walked up the 18th green. Once she realized the 4-foot putt was for the win, Lincicome said it was hard to swing the putter.

"My hands were shaking soooo bad,'' Lincicome said. "If it would've been any longer than that I would've missed it just because I was shaking so badly. After I made the putt and I was waiting for Kristy to putt out my hands were shaking and I couldn't stop. It's a good feeling to have.

"I had a few tears falling as I was walking up the 18th green. All the fans were cheering for me and high-fiving me. I was thinking about all the emotions if I did make it. Then I said, 'No, Brit, you can't get ahead of yourself.' ''

Lincicome plans to stay in Seminole today and Wednesday before flying to Phoenix on Thursday. She has started working with a sports psychology group, Vision 54, which has helped her mental game. She met with the group before last week's tournament.

"I talked to them early in the weekend and told them I needed a Band-Aid, something to get me through the next four days,'' she said. "We talked about 30 minutes on Wednesday just to get me through the tournament, and then I shot a 66. I didn't imagine shooting that low.''

This was the third win of Lincicome's five-year career and first since 2007. She moved into seventh on this year's money list with $310,439 earned, and is 12th in Solheim Cup points, just outside the 10 automatic spots. Friend and Tampa resident McPherson is eighth on the Solheim points list.

While McPherson was a rival on Sunday, Lincicome said it was a huge benefit playing in the final group with her.

"Kristy McPherson is one of my best friends on Tour,'' she said. "I felt so bad for Cristie Kerr because Kristy and I are such close friends that we're high-fiving and talking to each other and we're not as close to Cristie. …That was the first time we've ever gotten to play together. It was fun to be in the final group with her."

Brittany Lincicome enjoys newfound adulation after winning LPGA's first major 04/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 6, 2009 10:39pm]
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