A final hole eagle from Brittany Lincicome was the turning point for a playoff victory against her close friend Stacy Lewis for the ANA Inspiration title for her first title in almost four years.
“When I got to the green, I saw 9 under on the board, but I was trying not to look,” Lincicome said. “So, I knew I needed to make it, and my caddie (Missy Pederson) just said, ‘You have one goal and that is to get it to the hole.’ And I did.”
Lincicome produced a similar feat in 2009 at Mission Hills, hitting a hybrid from 210 yards to within four feet. This shot set up a winning eagle in a one-stroke victory over Cristie Kerr and Kristy McPherson.
“You land it on the front, it takes that little slope, and I don’t think my ball knows anything else other than that to do,” Lincicome said. “It’s done it twice now, so it’s pretty incredible.”
“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.
“Somebody was looking out for me today.”
Two strokes ahead of playing partner Sei Young Kim and four ahead of Lincicome with five holes left, Lewis missed a chance for her third major title.
The 30-year old from Texas, produced costly bogeys at the par-4 13th and 15th, then made par on the final three holes eventually carding a final round 70.
“The initial reaction is disappointed, obviously,” Lewis said. “But I played great and I hit some really good putts there, especially at the end.
“I just played solid all day, so I have to remind myself of that and not get too frustrated. It just wasn’t quite meant to be today.”
“Once we got back in that corner around 13, 14, the wind just kind of went crazy on us,” Lewis said.
“Couldn’t figure out which direction it was going.
“It changed when we were on 10. It changed when we were on 16. It changed when we were on 18, multiple times during the playoff. The wind was all over the place. I think that was the biggest challenge.”
Lewis was able to take solace from the fact that is was her good friend Lincicome that took the title over her.
“We’re good friends. I don’t think she’s won in a while, so it’s a great win for her,” said Lewis. “I don’t know. If anything, I like seeing three American flags at the top of the leaderboard.
Somebody was looking out for me today. “I kind of went into it saying an American’s going to win this major. So I think it’s a win-win.”
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.
Lydia Ko finally finished outside of the top-10 for the first time in 10 events, despite this she will remain as the World’s top female player.
“Obviously a little disappointing, but I felt like I hit some good shots and some good putts, but just didn’t drop,” Ko said. “When that happens, you really can’t do much. I’m putting good strokes on them.
“Like yesterday, I left a couple short, so I was disappointed in that way, but today I got them to the hole and a couple of them lipped out where it felt like it was in but it didn’t end up being that way. That kind of really summarized my week.”
England’s Charley Hull finished 2-under for the tournament after carding a final round 71. But the 19-year old from Kent was frustrated with her putting: “I just wasn’t holing any putts. I was hitting it so close, but I feel like my game’s in great shape.
Hull will be looking to bounce back in her next Major outing, and knows exactly where she needs to improve: “Just work on my putter more,” said Hull. “So if I play the same I should have been nine to ten inches today. It was crazy I played that well.”
Full leaderboard details can be found here.