RANCHO MIRAGE, Ca. — Brittany Lincicome dished up a near carbon copy Sunday of arguably her greatest shot ever Sunday at the ANA Inspiration to make an eagle on 18 and force a playoff with Stacy Lewis.
It was nearly deja vu for Lincicome, who hit the exact same shot into the 18th six years ago here to six feet for an eagle to win the championship by one. This year’s version needed three more trips down the 18th fairway though before Lincicome had her second major championship and sixth careeer LPGA Tour victory with three straight pars in extra holes.
“I mean, to make eagle on any hole is pretty incredible, and then to do it on Sunday at a major, at this major where I did it in 2009,” Lincicome said, “it’s really surreal. I feel like if you would have bet me all the money in the world to see how many times you could do it, if I went back to the fairway now I probably couldn’t hit that shot again. So like I said earlier, today was my day. Somebody was looking out for me today.”
Even after Lincicome’s eagle at the 72nd hole, which sent the American in the air jumping for joy, Lewis could have still ended it in regulation with a birdie at the last. Playing in the final group, Lewis hit her approach on the par-5 in to just 10 feet but misread the birdie putt and narrowly missed it on the low side.
Both went back down the 18th fairway for the first of three times. After Lincicome left her putt from the fringe just inches short, Lewis had another shot to win it with a 10 footer, which nearly snuck and died in the hole but somehow managed to stay above ground.
So back they went down the 18th fairway, and after Lewis plopped her third down seven feet from the hole, Lincicome dropped hers just a foot behind Lewis’. Somehow Lincicome’s birdie putt stayed on the high side and didn’t fall in the cup despite dying with just the right speed. It looked like it was going to again be Lewis’ jump to be had in Poppie’s Pond. But somehow Lewis’ putt followed the same path as Lincicome and despite the perfect speed, never fell.
Off they went again to the 18th tee for the third playoff hole in which Lewis got an unlucky break with her layup falling in a divot. She didn’t quite get enough of it and left it just short of the green.
“Just right when the club came down, it just caught both sides of the divot, basically of the turf, and it just killed it,” said Lewis. “I got no good contact on the ball, killed all the momentum.”
Lincicome proceeded to drop her approach in to about eight feet and when Lewis left her chip 10 feet short and missed the putt, the championship was finally Lincicome’s. There on the green waiting when she tapped in her par putt were her future husband, dad and caddie, all ready to join Lincicome in taking her second plunge into Poppie’s Pond. The win breaks a nearly four-year winless drought and comes just eight months after losing in a playoff to Inbee Park at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
“We’ve been close so many times, and it’s just one of those where don’t let it get to you,” Lincicome said. “We’ll just keep feeding from it and something good is going to happen. Lo and behold here, 2009 I won on Easter Sunday, and today is Easter Sunday, so it’s pretty crazy to think about.”
Lincicome becomes the seventh player in the tournament’s history with more than one win, joining Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Betsy King, Amy Alcott, Dottie Pepper and Juli Inkster.