CN Canadian Women’s Open
Hillsdale Golf & Country Club
August 28, 2011
Final-round notes and interviews
Rolex Rankings No. 15 Brittany Lincicome won the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open by getting up-and-down from about 40 yards to save par on 18th hole and secure a one-shot victory at the Hillsdale Golf & Country Club outside of Montreal. Lincicome shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday, battling high winds and heavy rain caused by the remnants of Hurricane Irene, to outlast defending champion Michelle Wie and Rolex Rankings No. 10 Stacy Lewis by a stroke and claim the $337,500 first-place check.
With former LPGA Tour member and Canada native A.J. Eathorne on her bag, Lincicome started the day one shot back of second-round leaders Wie, Ai Miyazato and Tiffany Joh. Lincicome got off to a hot start with birdies at one, five and seven, as she took advantage before the rain really started to fall and grabbed a two-shot lead over the field. A bogey on the par-4 12th moved Lincicome back a stroke and closer to what had become a very packed group at the top of the leaderboard. That included Lewis who was the early leader in the clubhouse after carding the low round of day with a 5-under 67 to finish at 12-under-par. Birdies by Wie on 13 and 15 moved her into a tie for the lead with Lincicome at 13-under but the defending champion hit her second shot on 16 into the water, resulting in a bogey that dropped her one back. Lincicome held steady over her final two holes, making a clutch par putt on 17 and then the up-and-down on 18 to secure her victory.
The win was Lincicome’s second on the LPGA Tour this season and the fifth of her career. It’s the first time in her career that she’s won multiple tournaments in the same season.
So close again: A year ago, Michelle Wie capped off a wire-to-wire victory at the CN Canadian Women’s Open in Winnipeg by shooting a final-round 70 to capture her second LPGA Tour win. On Sunday, Wie had the chance to make it back-to-back titles in Canada as she was right in the hunt until the very end.
After sinking a long birdie putt on No. 15, Wie was tied for the lead with Lincicome but a bogey on the 16th hole derailed her effort. As conditions worsened on 17 and 18, Wie wasn’t able to make a birdie that would have forced a playoff with Lincicome and instead recorded her second runner-up finish of the season. The other came at the season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand.
“I made some long putts coming in, and Brittany played awesome,” Wie said. “You know, I'm proud of the way I hung in there today.”
Making a Sunday move: Stacy Lewis began Sunday’s final-round in a tie for 19th place and said that honestly she felt that she was out of the title hunt. But a hot start that included birdies on three of her first four holes suddenly put Lewis back in the mix and on a day where conditions were only going to get worse as the day went along, she found herself near the top of the leaderboard and holding the clubhouse lead at 12-under-par a little over an hour before the leaders were set to finish.
“Coming out this morning, I thought if I can get to double digits under par and finish Top 10, it would be a pretty good week,” Lewis said. “I got to 10-under on the turn, and it got harder. I was just trying to post a number and just see what happens. I really didn't picture this round coming. I kind of struggled with my swing earlier until the week and the last couple of days it kind of came together, I guess.”
Lewis’ round of 67 was the lowest of the day on Sunday and while she fell one stroke short of forcing a playoff, her impressive round earned her a second runner-up finish in 2011 with the first coming at the Evian Masters. It was her eighth top-10 finish overall this season and this year is certainly turning into one to remember for Lewis, who became a Rolex First Time Winner at the Kraft Nabisco Championship back in early April.
“My goal kind of for the rest of the year is I actually went into the Top 10 of the world rankings last week,” Lewis said. “So my goal is to stay there and finish Top 5 on the money list. So I’ve tried not to get too far ahead. I make little goals for every tournament, every round. I don't know, this year's been awesome, and I'm just riding the momentum from it.”
The Irene effect: The starting times for Sunday’s final round of the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open were moved up several hours due to the fact that the remnants of Hurricane Irene were expected to arrive in the Montreal area late on Sunday afternoon. And while the final round was able to be completed, the players certainly felt the effects of the storm.
Players had to deal with the wind right from the start of the first tee times at 7:00 a.m. ET. Moderate rain began a around noon on Sunday, shortly before the leaders made the turn and the conditions only worsened as play neared its finish.
“It was a hard day,” Wie said after the round. “I don't think I played in more difficult conditions ever.”
Although Lincicome is a Florida native, she said that she’s only been through one hurricane in her life. So playing in conditions like the ones she found on Sunday were something new to her.
“It's really funny being from Florida, I've been through one hurricane my whole life, and I come to Canada and I'm in the midst of Irene,” Lincicome said. “Obviously, we knew it was going to come through. We were hoping with the earlier tee times that Irene would come through later this afternoon, and we'd get nine or so holes in before the rain came. But, you know, not our luck when you play an outdoor sport. Days like this I wish I was a professional Bowler or something that was an indoor sport.”
Low Canadian: Jessica Shepley recorded the best finish by a Canadian at this week’s event, shooting a final-round 74 to finish in a tie for 45th at 1-under-par.
Golden ticket winners: Jenny Shin, Hee-Won Han and Jennifer Johnson punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the CN Canadian Women’s Open, 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.
Of Note… The top five finishers at the CN Canadian Women’s Open (Lincicome, Wie, Lewis, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford) are all members of the 2011 U.S. Solehim Cup Team, which will take on Allison Nicholas and the European Team on Sept. 23-25 at Killeen Castle in Ireland…Through the CN Miracle Match program, the CN Canadian Women's Open helped raise a record $2.1 million for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Ste-Justine UHC Foundation. The CN Miracle Match program was created in 2006 to raise funds for children’s hospitals by matching funds raised through various initiatives connected with the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
BRITTANY LINCICOME, Rolex Rankings No. 15
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the 2011 CN Canadian Women's Open champion, Brittany Lincicome, into the interview room. Congratulations on your victory. First time in your LPGA career that you've won twice on Tour in the same season. Can you tell me what this victory and having two wins this season means to you?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, I won in June of this year, and that's all I was talking about. It would really be great to win twice in one season because I haven't done that before.
To win this event, I felt good coming into the week, but not super great or anything. You just never know with golf. It was cool to finally check that off my list of things to do, I guess. Beginning of the year was Solheim Cup, and then I locked that up, and then Atlantic City and then now here. I've been very blessed this year, and hopefully it will keep going.
THE MODERATOR: The conditions today weren't ideal.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Come on lauging
THE MODERATOR: I know due to the effects of hurricane Irene, but talk about how difficult it was out there today, and what it took to go out there and shoot a round like you shot?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, today was definitely one of those days that tested my patience for sure. I've been working with Vision54, with a sports psychologist. And that's kind of something we've been working on is kind of take one hole at a time, don't get ahead of yourself and don't think of the outcome.
I felt like I did that really well today. Any moment out on the golf course could have gone really bad. One bad hole would have set me off and I could have shot 100 today. So did really, really well trying to hit the fairways, trying to hit the greens, two-putt, par, and keep it going because I knew the scores weren't going to be low because of how crappy the weather was. It was nice to see myself growing and maturing, I guess, as a player.
Q. How much attention were you paying to the leaderboard going into the final three holes?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: It's going to be really funny when you go and watch the roll that was out there with TV. I looked at my caddie, A.J., and I was like, "Did I win?" And she was giving me a thumb's up because I was like, oh, my gosh. I had no idea. I hadn't looked at one leaderboard the whole entire day.
There was one on 17 green, and I literally took my umbrella and put it in front of me and walked straightforward so I wouldn't see it because it just makes me nervous. Then I hit like worst tee shot of the day on 18 into the tent where the kids are playing. Not really how you want to finish the hole, but obviously I parred it and I came out on top.
THE MODERATOR: Last Sunday the U.S. Solheim Cup team was announced. This week, Top 5 finishers are on the U.S. Solheim Cup team. How exciting is it to see how well you're all playing?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: That was really cool. I just saw that on the leaderboard when we did the interview. It was great. It was great to see my fellow Americans play. We obviously want everybody to do well, but particularly with Solheim coming up in a couple of weeks, it's nice to see everyone playing well, and hopefully we can keep it going for a few more weeks.
Q. On 18, that drive, was it a pull or a hook?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, it was kind of all of the above. It was obviously raining. The wind was right to left. My natural ball flight is a draw, so any time you get it working a little too much right to left, it's going to ride the wind. Then I tossed it up as well, so that obviously it went even higher and rode the wind more.
It wasn't that bad of a golf swing, just with the rain and everything my hand slipped a little bit. Guarding against hitting it right, apparently, I have no idea. But it worked out, I guess.
Q. That follow-up shot, what wedge did you use? What type of thought process as it flies to the hole? I was out there watching, and there were more bogeys than pars in the final group that's came through, so what was your -- take us through your thought process as you stepped up to that check?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, unfortunately, I only chip with my lob wedge. It's the only wedge I chip with ever, so I was just trying to fly it about halfway there, and the greens were pretty wet, so I decided it would kind of skip a little bit and then it was going to stop.
I hit it pretty good. I actually hit it a little thin which helped it roll out a little farther. I was trying to fly it 40 yards, and 40 yards of a lob wedge is not super easy. So it was great to get it up there close and not have too much pressure to tap it in.
Q. I guess it's a big day for your caddie as well today. How much help was it having a Canadian caddie at the Canadian Open.
BRITTANY LINCICOME: That kind of goes hand in hand. She here if you want to talk to her as well. But it's great. A.J. started working -- our first week together was Match Play and we lost the first round. The next week was Atlantic City where we won.
So jokingly we had two weeks off before Portland last week, and I told her I was going to fire her and rehire her back for Portland. So technically Portland was our first week back together, and this week, second week we've won. So we'll just have to keep firing her and rehiring her.
It's great. A.J. being a past player, she played for ten years. There were a lot of shots like how would you hit this shot, what do think I should do on this shot? Especially 18 with the punch shot I was trying to get it back on the fairway and chip it up there and give myself a chance, and she talked me through it perfectly.
Q. Is it a little sweeter because the weather was so lousy, you were able to tough it out? You can played it better than anybody else and you'll remember this because of the weather?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely. It just shows how much patience I had to have today. I'm growing as a golfer, I guess. If this would have happened a couple years ago, I'm not sure I would have handled it the same.
It's great to see how I handle the ball out there. I was very, very patient, singing a lot of songs, was very chatty. I'm having some fun. The weather was not great, but I was still having a good time. Definitely going to remember this win.
Q. What were you singing?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Anything country, really. Today I don't know if you know, Jason Aldean, but I was singing a lot of country today.
Q. Being from Florida, was hurricane Irene in the back of your head all week?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Not really. It's really funny being from Florida, I've been through one hurricane my whole life, and I come to Canada and I'm in the midst of Irene. Obviously, we knew it was going to come through. We were hoping with the earlier tee times that Irene would come through later this afternoon, and we'd get nine or so holes in before the rain came. But, you know, not our luck when you play an outdoor sport.
Days like this I wish I was a professional Bowler or something that was an indoor sport.
Q. Obviously the pars on 17 and 18 were very important, but you also got up on 8 and 9 when the rain started. Talk about that for keeping the round going?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely, I think I only had one bogey today. At that point there's always a stretch in my game it seems where one or two holes kind of don't go my way. It's a very thin line on which way it's going to go. So it was nice to kind of start singing again, start putting a smile back on my face, just kind of turn it around.
I knew I wasn't going to need to shoot crazy under par today because of the weather conditions, but 8 and 9 were huge for keeping my composure and just pressing on and trying to hit the fairway and the green and two-putt par and keep moving.
Q. It seemed part of your theme for keeping a balance. Is that something to do with a sports psychologist?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely. They know when I play my best, I'm very chatty. Whether it be with the girls in my group or whether it be the spectators and the crowd, the more I talk, the better I play. So singing just kind of takes my mind off that shot.
You only really need to focus 30 seconds over the shot that you're hitting, and after that you let your mind go wherever it wants to go, and my mind tends to sing. And I'm not a good singer, so I'm not singing for you.
Q. Who is your sports psychologist?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: The Vision54.
Q. On 18 the way your ball originally landed if you had to play it there, would you have had to play it horizontally from there and after the drop you had a look at the green?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I definitely would have gone more sideways. Probably would have left myself somewhere around 80 to 100 yards to the green. But I got a decent drop and was trying to get it back on the fairway and have that 80-yard shot again.
I was trying to punch a 5-iron, but it was a little harder than I was expecting. Almost got it onto the green. If I had known that, I might have hit the 4-iron and really gotten it up on the green. It was really trying to play smart, get it back on the fairway, tip it up there and see if we can make the par.
Q. Just kind of take me through today's round. I know it wasn't the finish you were hoping for, but still a good score on what was a tough, tough day.
MICHELLE WIE: I mean, it was a hard day. I don't think I played in more difficult conditions ever. You know, I made some long putt coming in, and Brittany played awesome. You know, I'm proud of the way I hung in there today.
Q. In terms of the whole week, what you can take from it? You put together four great rounds of golf, that's got to be a good feeling knowing going forward?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, for sure. I feel good. I think coming in I had a lot of clutch shots that I could really take a lot of positives from. It feels good to be back in contention again.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room. Congratulations on your round of 67 today. Finished at 12-under, now kind of wait-and-see mode to see what the rest of the field does?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it was playing so hard out there right now. It started raining pretty good when I was on 16, so I'm just glad to be done. I think, I mean, I think it should be pretty good, but you never know what could happen. Hopefully it holds up for the next hour or so.
THE MODERATOR: You got off to a hot start. Birdies on three of the first four holes. Did you feel you had to take advantage of the conditions before we got the rain and really bad wind?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it was still windy even when we teed off. So I knew the day was going to be hard and you just had to kind of get through it and grind over every putt and every shot. I mean, to get away with -- I guess, bogey-free today, if you had told me that at the beginning of the day, I would have taken it.
THE MODERATOR: The finishing stretch can be tough, especially when the conditions are like now. How was 16, 17, 18 for you?
STACY LEWIS: They're probably playing the three hardest holes on the golf course. They move the tee up on 16, so it's a little bit easier. You have a shorter club, but a huge crosswind, and 17 is playing long and another crosswind, and 18 is playing dead into the wind. So it's not easy. I mean, I'd take par on every hole and run.
Q. This year you won your first tournament in a major title, you've been in contention quite a few times. Overall, how has this year been for you?
STACY LEWIS: The year has been awesome. After winning, I didn't want to have a letdown. I didn't want to be the person that won the first major and then played horrible the rest of the year. So I continued to work hard and get myself back in the spot to have a chance to win. I thought I was kind of too far out of it today, but the weather helped me out.
Q. There's always the possibility of the playoff at the end of this. What do you do between now and the rest of the tournament? Do you practice in the rain?
STACY LEWIS: I'm probably going to go inside and dry off and warm-up a little bit. I'll probably watch a little bit, but they've got probably at least an hour until they're done. So just relax a little. If I need to, I'll definitely go hit a few if we have a playoff, for sure.
Q. That was a great up-and-down on 17. Can you explain what happened on the approach, and whether making a par there was a must in your mind?
STACY LEWIS: It was a hard shot in the fairway. I was caught on the downslope, so I was trying to keep the shot low out of the wind and just hit it fat. But I had a little 30-yard pitch shot and hit a great shot.
I don't know. Every shot was so hard today, you just kept grinding over every one of them. You kind of forget what they're for, whether it's for birdie or whether it's for par. You've just got to do your best. I was just trying to post a number and give them something to look at and see what happens.
Q. Your round of 67 might be the best today. How did you get to play so well with the wind and now the rain?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I got off to a good start, and that was key. Then actually I had two hole outs, so you kind of have to have some -- for a round like that, you have to have good things go your way. I chipped in off 10 for birdie and then holed out from about 60 yards on 13 -- 12, on 12, for birdie. So you have to get a little lucky and get things to go your way. But I made some great pars on those last six holes, so I'm not complaining.
Q. Stacy, I'm sure you're pretty happy to see 7:50 a.m. when you were getting ready last night. How close was today's round compared to what you were imagining last night?
STACY LEWIS: Truthfully, I thought I was kind of out of it. So I was just coming out. I thought if I can get to double digits under par and finish Top 10, it would be a pretty good week.
I got to 10-under on the turn, and it got harder. I was just trying to post a number and just see what happens. I really didn't picture this round coming. I kind of struggled with my swing earlier until the week and the last couple of days it kind of came together, I guess.
Q. What are the worst conditions you've ever played in?
STACY LEWIS: Probably the British Open last year. You get rain and wind. It's similar to what it's doing right now. Any time you've got rain and wind where an umbrella really doesn't do you any good, that is the hardest time to play, I think.
Q. But you've played in tougher conditions, so it was an obvious challenge today. Nevertheless, it's not something unique that you you've never seen before.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, last year at the British Open I played 16 holes in rain like this, so it kind of put it in perspective. But me and my caddie were grinding over every shot. Just get the ball in the hole, get it in the hole and get out of here much.
Q. I was seeing everybody else out there really bundled up, and there you were walking down the 17th fairway exactly like you are right now. You might be small, but you're pretty tough. Is everybody from Texas like that?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I think it's just me. People think I'm crazy. But I was okay. 16 I got a little cold. I don't like putting on a jacket when I've been hitting it all day. So just trying to keep the good things going and not change what I was doing.
Q. You must have met, I would imagine, most of your goals for this season already. Did you make new goals or career goals and would you share them with us?
STACY LEWIS: My goal kind of for the rest of the year is I actually went into the Top 10 of the world rankings last week. So my goal is to stay there and finish Top 5 on the money list. So I tried not to get too far ahead. I'd make little goals for every tournament, every round. I don't know, this year's been awesome, and I'm just riding the momentum from it.
Q. Your story has been pretty well-documented in the States, but for Canadian golf fans they may not be as familiar with it. Was there ever a time in your life that you didn't think physically you could be on Tour?
STACY LEWIS: I play golf because I love to play. Got to school, got to college and played better. My coach is like you should give it a try, try to play as a professional.
So every day that I'm out here playing, it's a blessing to me because there was a time when I was laying in a hospital bed and I couldn't sit up by myself. Whether you're playing in the rain or whatever it is, I'm thankful for every day that I get out here.
Q. Those tough times, do you put them behind you or do you constantly draw strength from what you went through?
STACY LEWIS: It's good reminder for me. I get letters from kids and parents all the time. They seem to come at the times when I'm frustrated or need a little reminder of, hey, this is where you've come from. And so I'm constantly reminded of it, but that's a good thing, and it helps keep whether winning or losing, it keeps everything in perspective.
Q. How does your back affect you today playing golf day-to-day?
STACY LEWIS: Day-to-day now it's fine. I might be sore occasionally at night, but it's never anything -- nothing major, nothing a little ice or some Advil can't fix.