Bay Course at Seaview – A Dolce Resort
Final-round notes and interviews
June 5, 2011
Brittany Lincicome won the ShopRite LPGA Classic with an impressive up-and-down for birdie from the thick grass on the 18th hole. She shot 5-under-par 66 on Sunday to record her fourth-career LPGA victory – a one-shot win over Rolex Rankings No. 3 Jiyai Shin and No. 4 Cristie Kerr – and claim the $225,000 first-place check.
With former LPGA Tour member A.J. Eathorne on her bag, Lincicome started the day two shots behind second-round leader Kerr and carded an eagle on the third hole to move into a day-long fight for first. Kerr started the day with birdies at three, five and six, but faltered with bogies at seven and eight, opening the door for Lincicome and Shin, who posted the clubhouse lead at 10-under-par with Lincicome in 18th fairway. Lincicome hit her second shot to the par-5 into the tall grass left of the 18th green, but managed to chip out to five-feet and sink the birdie. Kerr left a 80-foot eagle try short that could have forced a playoff, tapping in for birdie and a share of second at 10-under.
Lincicome played her final 38 holes bogey-free dating back to the 16th hole on Friday where she made double bogey. Her previous-best finish this season came at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, where she tied for second and punched her ticket to the CME Group Titleholders.
Kerr records second-consecutive second. Cristie Kerr’s bid for a 15th LPGA victory fell one shot short on Sunday, but she added another runner-up finish to her impressive play this season. Just two weeks ago, Kerr lost to Suzann Pettersen in the finals of the Sybase Match Play Championship. She has five top-10 finishes in eight tournaments played this season. Next up for Kerr? She’ll try to defend her titles at next week’s LPGA State Farm Classic and the Wegmans LPGA Championship in late June.
A day to go low: There were a lot of red numbers on the scoreboard Sunday and to have a shot at contending, players had to put up a low score in the final round. Of the players who finished in the Top-10, six of them fired rounds of 67 or better on Sunday.
Golden ticket winners: Anna Nordqvist, Catriona Matthew and Brittany Lang punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 17-20, 2011 at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The inaugural CME Group Titleholders, a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament, is a format never previously used in professional golf.
Lincicome is going to Canyon Ranch. With her victory at the 2011 ShopRite LPGA Classic, Brittany Lincicome earned an all-inclusive stay for two at a Canyon Ranch resort. In a combined effort to promote health and overall well-being among Tour players, Canyon Ranch will provide every winner of an LPGA event with one all-inclusive stay at one of Canyon Ranch's two destination resorts.
Of Note… Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng, Karrie Webb, and Maria Hjorth each shot 6-under 65s to tie for the low round on the final day of the tournament…Defending champion Ai Miyazato shot a 1-under 70 to finish this year’s ShopRite LPGA Classic in a tie for 20th at 1-under-par… Jiyai Shin recorded her second runner-up finish of the season (Kia Classic)…The final round scoring average of 71.57 was the lowest of the three rounds.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the 2011 ShopRite LPGA Classic Champion, Brittany Lincicome. Brittany, just talk about the day and your emotions coming in. You said it might even help to be in the group behind the leading group and that's where you ended up and you walk away a champion again.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, everything kind of fell my way. It was clearly my week. Everything that progressed today. I started on fire. I made an eagle. I made some birdies. Kind of halfway until the end I left everything short. I got really tight, really super nervous. Couldn't seem to get a putt to the hole and nothing was really happening. It was kind of boring.
So I don't normally look at leaderboards, but I look to the leaderboard on 18 tee. So I knew I was tied. Then I got to 18 tee 1 ahead. Then I knew when I got to 18 green and Jiyai Shin was 10-under, and I'm like, oh, crap. So I'm in the weeds, like in the bushes, tied for the lead, and I'm like, oh, gosh, this is not where you want to be. But clearly, again, it was just my day. I mean that chip shot I could go out and hit a whole bucket of balls and not get it within five feet like I just did. So that putt and chip were equally as hard and I was shaking like a leaf.
THE MODERATOR: What were your thoughts when you walked up there and saw your lie?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, I heard the crowd. I was like maybe it's just in the bunker and they're going crazy because it's the last hole or what have you. But it was in the weeds or in the high stuff when I got up there .It wasn't a horrible lie. It wasn't in the tallest of stuff. So I guess if it was going to be there, it was probably the best spot to be. Just kind of told myself don't quit on it. Keep the club head going. Obviously, if you de-cel on it, it's going to go just about two feet. So I just tried to make sure I kept the club going and gutted it out, basically.
THE MODERATOR: You just got a new caddie recently. You and A.J. have just started to work together. How is it to get a win so quickly with her on the bag?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I felt like I've been hitting well. I practiced really hard last week, and our first tournament together was Match Play and we played a whole 15 holes together. So that wasn't a really great test for her to learn anything about my game or for me to tell her anything about my game or what I want from her.
So we just kind of went out this week, and we're just going to go have fun. The more I talk and chattier that I am, the better that I play. So she did a great job that if I was down a little bit to pick me back up and talk about something that I really enjoy, whether it be fishing or my dogs or my friends at home. She just did a great job. She used to play on Tour, so she knows what the feeling is.
Q. You mentioned last week that you got in a lot of practice. How much did the practice help you? Are you practicing more now or is it just a matter of getting --
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, it depends on who is in town when I go home, actually. I have a couple of Futures Tours friends in my area, so if they're home I practice more than my Mini Tour buddy who is a guy. If he's in town, we practice every day and play every day, so I work really hard.
So if I go home after Springfield next week and nobody's home, I feel like I don't do anything if nobody's home to kind of motivate me to want to do it. So it just depends on how I'm feeling. Normally I take a few days off when I'm home and go fishing and hang out. Later in the week I get back to it. I really enjoy playing. I'd rather play 18 holes than go to the driving range for five hours. So normally my day consists of playing, and if I feel I need to work on something, I'll go do it for an hour, not a lot.
Q. On the chip on 18, what were your options? Did you have one club?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, I really only chip with my lob wedge. It was really the only club I think you could have used there. Anyway, I kind of closed the club face a little bit and took it steep like a bunker shot to pop it out of there and get it running. It came out absolutely perfect.
Q. Did the final putt -- how did it break?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: We were trying to play it left edge, left center. My hands were shaking so bad I almost backed off of it again and was going to take a couple more deep breaths to calm myself down. But instead I said we'll go with it and see what happens. I've only been in one playoff, so I definitely didn't want to go to another playoff.
Q. Was 18 the only time you looked at the leaderboard all day? It was pretty chaotic, people were up-and-down, you know.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Right, it was the first real chance I had to look at it. Even the big leaderboard when you're going from 17 to 18, I missed it right when the scores came up, so I didn't see it on there. I had to wait until the girls were behind us were walking to the 18th tee to see the leaderboard. They either weren't in the right spots or I was just so focus on walking down the fairway that I didn't see a leaderboard all day until 18 tee.
Q. Now that you have won, has it sunk in? What are your thoughts? You said it's been since 2009, that's been about 20 minutes now, so what are your thoughts is?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Not really yet. I'm just in a rush to make a flight and try to get to an outing tomorrow. Probably after tomorrow and early next week it will sink in. But it feels great. It's like you said, since '09. You don't know if you're ever going to win again or if you'll ever have your time. So it feels fantastic. It's a wonderful tournament. The people do a fantastic job here. The food was amazing this week. That's probably why I played well. Just fat and sassy every day, but it feels great. My game, I was super happy with the way that I played, and just hopefully bigger and better things are to come.
Q. Just talk about the nervousness, and is it nice to have that feeling again to be in that situation where you have a chance like that?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, I thought the second time around after doing it at Kraft it would be easier this time, but it definitely wasn't. It was pretty much the same. My hands were shaking. I got done, and I was trying to find my scorecard. My hands were shaking so bad, my signature probably looks horrible. The emotions are still the same. I was trying to talk to Juli Inkster, a veteran, about it. She said it's always going to be there. It's not going to go away. If you weren't nervous, you weren't human, basically, is what she tells me. So it's something I'll have to keep fighting through, I guess. If it's my time, the putt will go in and, if not, we'll go into a playoff.
Q. Which was the bigger shot, the putt to win or the approach?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: The chip shot on 18. Like I said, I could have a whole bucket of balls and go out there and try it again and not get it within five feet.
Q. When you made it you said, it's mine, right?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah. That's kind of it's my day. That five-footer that I had, it was like if I just had that chip shot. Clearly the putt has to go in. It's not going to get any harder than that.
Q. You didn't have a birdie between 9 and 18, were you getting impatient or were you so nervous it didn't really matter?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, just super nervous. Just got really tentative. All last week I worked on getting the ball to the hole. At Sybase, the Match Play event, I didn't feel like I got one putt to the hole. I wasn't aggressive. The tempo of my stroke was not good. So we worked on that all last week. It started really well on the front nine. I was really aggressive. One of the holes I blew it by like five feet and had to make the comeback coming back.
So I did really well on the first couple and just got super tight and super nervous. Couldn't really handle it as well as I should have, I guess. But obviously, it's a learning experience. Take it into next week and try to be more aggressive so I won't have to make birdie on the last hole to win.
Q. You got the better of some really good players today. Can you talk a little bit about that in even though Cristie was 80 feet away for eagle, what were your emotions while she was sizing that up?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Kind of felt like Solheim Cup. Everyone at Solheim tells you your opponents are going to make their putts. Just anticipate that they're going to make it. So I was standing there like this could really go. And Cristie Kerr is the best putter on Tour I think by far. So I thought she'd knock it up there super close to make me be like, oh, gosh, you know. But you've always got to anticipate that they're going to make it. So I told my caddie maybe we should go to the putting green. She told me, ‘Why, so your hands can shake?’ Obviously, that was funny at the time (laughing).
But, yeah, Cristie Kerr, Catriona Matthews, lot of great names of girls that have won multiple times on Tour. So it's great to come out on top and maybe consider myself one of them now.
Q. You're considered a long hitter. If you look at the par-5s this week, I think it was 7 birdies, an eagle and a par. Is that the difference?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, they were all reachable on two, which is fantastic. It's nice to get the eagle today. The first couple of days I had 8-iron on the one that I made eagle on because I hit such a good drive. That's nice to take advantage of on the par-5. The par-3s were probably the hardest part out there. So I was really just trying to make pars on the par-3s and birdie the par-5s.
Q. You played the last 38 holes without a bogey.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I know. Not a 5 on the scorecard.
Q. How does that feel?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Luckily again I'm not superstitious, but I kind of am. So I didn't even notice until I signed my scorecard and I got done this evening and looked at it. It was like, oh, gosh, good thing I didn't know that prior because I would have worried about it all day.
Going into yesterday's round I only missed one fairway the first day. Luckily I only missed the first fairway, so that was out of the way and done with. So some things I'm superstitious. Some things it's really weird, but, yeah, that's really funny.
Q. You play tennis, who did you want to win today?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I was hoping Federer would do it, but it was a great match. That's all I did this morning was watch tennis for like four hours.
Q. So you saw the match?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Oh, yeah. That's why I said if I miss my tee time it's because I'm watching tennis.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Cristie Kerr into the interview room. Runner-up finish, I know not what you were hoping for, but can you take us through the round today and what happened out there?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I tell you, it played a little bit tougher today. I played great. Even the bogeys I made at 8 and 9 really weren't that bad. 8, I hit it right at the pin. And actually a little unlucky that it went right at the pin, because if you hit it a little bit left into the green where I was planning to, you have the slope to stop it. Made a good chip there and a good putt. 8, I did hook it a little off the tee, but I think the wind got it and it got a really wicked bounce and ended up pretty unlucky. Had to take an unplayable lie. As it was, I made a great 5, and I had a horrible lie in the bunker.
You know, you I played great today. Even the 3-wood I hit into the 9th hole, that is as good as I can hit a 3-wood. I hit a good chip. Got a little by the hole, and I hit the putt the way I wanted to. I mean, nothing went my way today. I made some great birdies early on, but nothing went my way. I made a great putt at 14 again, almost chipped in on 15. 16, the wedge was right at the pin. I mean, you've got to get lucky to hit it close there with where they put the pin today, and almost made the putt on 17 and made birdie on 18. So I have nothing to hang my head about. You can always say what if, but I’m looking forward to next week.
Q. When you took your unplayable at No. 8, did you have any other options about where to take your drop? Looked like you had a horrible lie even where you dropped the ball?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, if I had taken two club lengths, it would have been in gnarly grass. Where I decided to take it back in line, there was at least a chance of getting a good lie. I got kind of -- not a good break there. I dropped it and it went right into a hole. I only had 110 yards to the pin and I hit a gap wedge, and that was as good as it's going to come out of the lie. You know, it just wasn't a good situation. I made a heck of a bogey out of it, and those were really the only options.
Q. Were all the delays simply frustrating or just something you have to deal with?
CRISTIE KERR: They're something you have to deal with, with you they're a little frustrating at the same time. The officials I think told the tournament people we weren't going to play in four hours. I think we missed the finish on TV. I don't know. I don't know what happened there. Certainly you could tee off the first tee time at 7:30 and be guaranteed to be finishing on TV. Again, not my call, but a 3 o'clock tee time is something you don't really even get at the U.S. Open, so I don't know what happened there.
Q. They did show the finish, but they kept switching back and forth from your field to here. Are you a leaderboard watcher or do you rather just concentrate on your own game and just check it?
CRISTIE KERR: I like to know where I stand, and that's great that we were able to get the finish on TV. It was an exciting finish. But I like to know where I am a little bit more on the back nine on Sunday when I tend to pay a little bit more attention to it. Got to kind of know what you have to do, and I almost did it again.
Q. Talk about the 18th hole?
CRISTIE KERR: The 18th hole I hit a great drive, ripped the 3-wood up there just short of the green, and I had to make it. It must have been 27 paces on. So that's 80 feet or 70 feet. It was actually in the heart. It was like five feet short, but it's tough to have to make an 80-foot eagle putt to make it into the playoff. But I just wish I would have gotten it to the hole, but it was a great two-putt nonetheless. I saw where she made birdie and Mike Scanlan from the LPGA told me that she hit it in the junk left and got a good lie. That could have been an unplayable lie too. It was obviously her week. Doesn't diminish my performance. I played great this week.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jiyai Shin into the interview room. Congratulations on your round today. I know it wasn't quite the finish you were hoping for, but great playing, and a runner-up finish. Can you talk about the round today?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I finished in second. I was very close to the win. I had a chance to win, but I got a little bit of pressure on the course. But I tried to control my thinking, my mind. I did my best. I played very well, too, I just missed a couple of the short putts. But I made a lot of birdies today. I feel it's okay because we still have a lot of tournaments to finish. The last two events I didn't have any chance for the win, so I feel really good, and I have confidence too.
Q. Could you just talk about the putt on 18; how long was that and what did you see there?
JIYAI SHIN: It was 8 feet to the hole, and a little bit downhill, left-to-right. Today I made a lot of birdies the same distance, so I had a good feeling before I hit. But I didn't hit very well because I'm very nervous, because I know the putt is very important to win. I hit a little miss, and I hit a little short, so I missed that. Well, but I learned a lot for this week. Actually, every time I learn a lot from the golf. I'm learning the game, so now I finished good this week so I will prepare for next tournament.
Q. Did you watch the leaderboard at all out there? Did you know pretty much what was going on with Cristie and Brittany?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, I'm all the time watching the leaderboard because it's very important to -- like I have to know how the others are playing. So I watched the leaderboard up to 14, 13, I was the leader and so I'm thinking, okay, don't miss. And on 14, 15, I hit it not bad, just bad luck. Just bad luck. I had a great comeback at 17, so I feel I was excited (laughing).
Q. How did you feel after Brittany hit her second shot in what looked to be a really bad lie on 18?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I watched Brittany's shot to the left side of the green. It was a great shot. It was really a tough lie, and the situation very close to win, very important shot with the pressure, that she hit that shot was amazing and a great putt too.
Q. If you can tell me something about the difference you feel between yesterday and today?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, not really, because this morning I think oh, I still have a chance to win. So I tried. I get a little bit of adrenaline this morning. I like that feeling. This morning I was really ready to play today. Not much different, because I'm all the time do my best and focus for my game too.