Monday, May 21, 2018

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shares lead at U.S. Women's Open

KOHLER, Wis. — Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 3-under 69 on Thursday to share the U.S. Women's Open lead with Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas in nearly 100-degree heat and high humidity that turned Blackwolf Run, a challenging 6,944-yard course, into a boiler.

Lincicome, 26, fired five birdies against two bogeys as she chases her first victory this year. After her round Thursday, Lincicome tweeted: "Amazing day today … had complete control over my whole game. … Just need it to stick around for 3 more days."

The eight-year LPGA Tour veteran has five career victories but her best finish this season is a tie for second at the Australian Open in February. Her last win was at the Canadian Women's Open in August 2011, and her one major title was at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Going into this week, breaking par didn't seem possible at Blackwolf Run.

"Obviously today shooting 3 under I have to kind of rethink my strategy, and obviously under par is very doable," said Lincicome, one of the longest hitters on the LPGA Tour. "If you can keep it in the fairway, hit it in the right spot on the green, and I made a couple long putts today, which was nice."

Salas, 22, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Azusa, Calif. With help from her family, she used golf to earn a scholarship to Southern Cal, and now, a spot on the LPGA Tour.

With her family on hand this week, Salas sees her play as a tribute to her parents.

"My dad still works long hours out on the golf course, my mom also," Salas said. "So this is just my way of repaying them for all their sacrifice and all their work they've done for me."

She began with a birdie on the 348-yard, par-4 first hole, with a 9-iron approach that left her with a 7-foot putt. It was one of her four birdies. Her only bogey came on the 375-yard, par-4 11th.

Kerr, who birdied three of her first seven holes and made it through the day without a bogey, feels a different level of energy at the Open.

"This is where I want to perform," she said. "This is the stage I want to perform on."

Third-ranked Ai Miyazato, the Japanese star coming off a victory Sunday in the LPGA Tour event in Arkansas, was a stroke behind the leaders along with 17-year-old Lexi Thompson, Jennie Lee and Beatriz Recari. Seven players, including No. 5 Na Yeon Choi and No. 6 Suzann Pettersen, shot 71.

Defending champion So Yeon Ryu finished with a 74.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 74. She would become the youngest player to complete a career Grand Slam with a victory this weekend.

Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' niece, had a 75.

Clearwater's Jennifer Gleason and Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse were at 1-over 73 and tied for 24th. Tampa's Kristy McPherson was at 3-over 75, tied for 55th.

Singh in front on PGA

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Vijay Singh fired his best round in six months, shooting 7-under 63 in the Greenbrier Classic to take a one-stroke lead over Jeff Maggert, Jonathan Byrd and Martin Flores, while Tiger Woods was left eight shots behind.

"Gosh, I don't know where that came from," said Singh, 49, who is playing in his ninth event in 10 weeks with two top-20 finishes in that span. "I've been playing pretty good golf for a while, but just never got any scoring going. But today seemed I hit it close and drove the ball really well, hit a lot of greens and made some nice putts."

Sixty-two players broke par on the Old White TPC course. Woods wasn't one of them. Coming off a victory in the AT&T National, he struggled in a 1-over 71, needing 31 putts.

"I was a little bit off with my game, and on top of that I didn't have the speed of these greens at all," said Woods, who complained the greens were slow. "I missed literally every single putt high."

PGA Europe: Christian Nilsson of Sweden shot 6-under 65 to lead England's Gary Boyd, Italy's Matteo Manassero and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee by a stroke after the first round of the French Open in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

Ochoa return: Former women's No. 1 Lorena Ochoa, who retired in 2010 to give birth to a son in 2011, will make a limited return and play in October at the French Open on the Ladies European Tour and in November at her own invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico.