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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hey, How Did Brittany Lincicome Get in the Lead?

Yeah, I know. All the analysts said that a bomber had the advantage at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Monroe Golf Club has wide fairways that just begged for a big hitter to take over.

But they all said that big hitter would be Lexi Thompson, not the LPGA's most notorious fisherwoman.

Brittany Lincicome

Granted, Lexi is tied for second place. (As is Inbee Park, so maybe that "big hitter" thing wasn't such a big deal after all.) But both Lexi and Inbee are 3 shots back. And notoriously short hitters like Jane Park, Meena Lee, and Lydia Ko are 4 shots back. Brittany simply shouldn't be there.

It's not that Brittany's a bad player. Far from it. She's got 5 LPGA titles including one major, the 2009 Kraft Nabisco. (Remember her eagle on the 18th?) But even the writer of the LPGA's 2nd round notes sounds a bit surprised by her play:
She hasn’t held a second round lead since 2009 but Brittany Lincicome now holds the 36-hole lead at a major championship for the first time in her 10-year career.
According to the article, Brittany sounds like a number of other players on various tours:
"I haven’t been here in a while so it’s pretty exciting anytime you can shoot under par especially at a major.  It feels really nice.  I feel like all year I’ve been doing a lot of good things, hitting well, putting well, chipping well, they just don’t seem to all come together on the same day.  So it was nice to play the last two days and just kind of seeing like I was out there doing my thing and there was not too much stress involved."
In other words, she's been playing better than her score would lead you to believe. I went back over her finishes this year and she's only had one Top10; the vast majority of her finishes have been outside the Top25. Some have accused her of being, shall we say, less than dedicated to her golf when there's a fishing pole nearby. (Or possibly a poker table -- she's into Texas Hold'Em as well.) I don't know what happened, but she certainly hasn't been much of a factor since 2011 when she won twice.

But while she wouldn't be the first fun-loving player to find her game derailed by the opportunities available to a Tour player, few seem determined to have as much fun as Brittany. Have you ever read any of Brittany's bio at LPGA.com? The first thing listed under the "things you should know about Brittany" is:
Top three things on Brittany's bucket list? Get married/have kids, go fishing for sailfish and catch Moby Dick, and go on an Alaskan cruise.
Sounds to me like she may have a bit of trouble pulling all three of those off at once -- I just can't see Captainess Ahab's kids helping her man the harpoon in the Arctic North -- but that's part of what makes Brittany one of the more interesting players on the LPGA.

Regardless of how she got here, she's here now. And after a few years of just floating through the season, she may be on the verge of finally getting that big white winless whale off her back. I just hope for her sake that she doesn't get so distracted by the damn thing that her pursuers catch her.

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