Friday, June 22, 2018

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome keeps lead at LPGA Championship

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Brittany Lincicome beamed. She had fought off jitters while leading an LPGA Tour major and it felt oh-so-good.

Lincicome, who hadn't held a second-round lead since 2009 and never had had one in a major, shot 1-under 71 Saturday at the LPGA Championship to finish the third round at 10-under 206. That was one shot better than Suzann Pettersen (67) and defending champion Inbee Park (69) in the fourth major of the season.

"Nervous is probably an understatement. My stomach was in knots," said Lincicome, of Seminole. "When it came time to eat lunch, it just wasn't happening because I haven't been in this position in a while. Hopefully, going into (today), it's out of my system."

Mirim Lee (69) was alone in fourth at 7 under, and 17-year-old Lydia Ko (71) was another shot back with Meena Lee (71) and Gerina Piller (69).

Lincicome, a long hitter whose nickname is "Bam Bam," began the day at Monroe Golf Club with a three-shot advantage over Park and Lexi Thompson, who shot 74 and was at 4 under.

Lincicome won the 2009 Kraft Nabisco for her lone major title and has five tour victories, the last in August 2011. The United States is seeking to win its fourth straight major.

Lincicome was 11 under over three rounds on the generous par 5s, a distinct advantage over most of her challengers and surely the reason Park wasn't looking down from the leaderboard's top.

"I hate talking about it. I feel like I'm going to jinx myself," Lincicome said. "If I can hit it on the fairway, get it on the green and two-putt, it's stress-free. I feel like my tempo the last couple of days has been really, really good. We're going to be more aggressive (today)."

Lincicome birdied all four par 5s in the opening round and added two more to go with an eagle Friday.

"This golf course is not exactly for short hitters," said Park, who won three majors last year. "(Lincicome, her playing partner) was probably 50 yards ahead of me. I haven't really played that well on the par 5s. I only made one (Saturday), none the first day. That's a big difference. If I had made a couple, I'd be up. It feels like a little bit of a disadvantage. It's an easy birdie for her."

Pettersen has five top-5s in her past eight majors, including a victory last year in the major Evian Championship. She continued her solid play when it matters most, with four birdies on the back nine. "I seem to like the back nine," she said.

PGA: Nick Watney birdied the final hole for 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at 14-under 196 after the third round of the Wyndham Championship at Greensboro, N.C. Brad Fritsch (65) was second.

Major disqualification: Cameron Tringale was disqualified from last week's PGA Championship after telling the rules committee he might have whiffed on a tap-in putt in the final round and thus signed an incorrect score. Tringale tied for 33rd. He signed for a 4 on the par-3 11th hole. After the tournament ended, Tringale said, he called the PGA of America because his putter swung over the ball before he tapped in for bogey and was concerned the swing should have counted as a stroke. He forfeits $53,000 in earnings.

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