Apr 5, 2015 11:59 PM
Brittany Lincicome wins ANA Inspiration in playoff
The Associated Press
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) Brittany Lincicome didn't know where she stood in the ANA Inspiration when she hit her 190-yard approach on the final hole of regulation.
A 10-foot eagle putt and three pars later, she found herself splashing around in Poppie's Pond after her second surprise victory leap in the first major championship of the year.
"Super emotional," Lincicome said at the 18th green. "I'm standing here, physically, shaking like a leaf still. It's over and I'm still shaking."
Lincicome pulled even with Stacy Lewis with the eagle and outlasted her U.S. Solheim Cup teammate with a two-putt par in fading light on the third extra hole all on the par-5 18th.
"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."
In 2009 at Mission Hills, Lincicome hit a hybrid from 210 yards to 4 feet to 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."
Lewis, the 2001 winner, had three chances to win on the 18th. She missed birdie putts from 13 feet in regulation, 15 feet on the first extra hole and 12 feet on the second.
"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."
On the third extra hole, Lewis left her 103-yard approach from a sand-filled divot short of the green and her chip stopped 12 feet in front of the pin. Her par putt came up an inch short, and Lincicome finished it off missing a 10-footer and holing out from 1 1/2 feet.
Playing a group ahead of Lewis, Lincicome hit a 5-iron to set up the eagle that ended up matching Lewis at 9-under 279.
"The first time it felt fairly easy because I thought I was so far out of the tournament that I never had a chance," Lincicome said. "I wasn't nervous at all."
Lincicome finished with a 69. The 29-year-old Florida player, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, is projected to jump from 18th to sixth in the world ranking.
Lewis closed with a 70 in tricky windy conditions.
"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."
Lincicome lost a playoff to Inbee Park last year in the LPGA Championship, one of the tour's five majors.
"I just took from that that it was nice to be in contention again," Lincicome said. "Just didn't let it get to me."
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. She has 11 LPGA Tour victories and 18 runner-up finishes, three in seven starts this year.
The 30-year-old Texan bogeyed the par-4 13th and 15th missing from 6 feet on 13 and 5 feet on 16 and closed with three pars.
Morgan Pressel was third at 8 under. Her approach on 18 hit the hole and stayed out, leaving her a short birdie putt for a 70.
"I can't believe it basically hit the hole," Pressel said. "So close."
Kim, three strokes ahead of Lewis entering the round, had a 75 to tie for fourth at 7 under with Carlota Ciganda (68) and Anna Nordqvist (69).
"Very disappointed," Kim said through a translator. "It was just very difficult to figure out things, especially with the wind factoring in. ... It really confused me a lot."
Kim had only one par on the back nine, on the 18th when she needed an eagle to get into the playoff. The 22-year-old South Korean player, the winner in February in the Bahamas, four-putted the par-3 14th for a double bogey to fall out of a tie for the lead with Lewis.
"I think I can learn from that and I can make better decisions," Kim said.
Lexi Thompson, the winner last year, was 6 under. She finished birdie-eagle for a 70.
Top-ranked Lydia Ko had a 73 to tie for 51st at 3 over.