Brittany Lincicome and Stacy Lewis didn’t let the sweltering heat in the desert impact their games on Thursday afternoon during the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Playing in the afternoon wave when temperatures reached above 100 degrees, Lincicome and Lewis shot a pair of excellent six-under 66s to tie for the lead at the LPGA’s first major.
The ladies are good friends and sometimes roommates on the road when their parents aren’t around.
“Stacy has been a great friend for a little while now,” Lincicome said. “If we don’t want our fathers or mothers to go to a tournament, we’ll stay together, but she’s just a really nice girl. We’re kind of the same age, very low-maintenance for both of us, so it’s very easy-going.”
Though the two aren’t rooming together this week, they went to dinner together on Wednesday night.
While the heat wave is supposed to break by the weekend, Lincicome is concerned about the potential damage to the greens.
“They’re really, really firm out there,” she said. “I’m hoping they’re going to put some water on them right when we get done, because I would hate for them to lose them like Oakmont did at the Open this year. They’re ‑‑ especially No. 1, and there was one other green like turning brown even or purple, which can’t be good.
“I don’t know anything about the greens, but being a course that I love and I love to play, I’d hate for them to lose the greens.”
Of course, Lincicome won this event two years ago, hitting a perfect hybrid to about five feet on No. 18, which I consider as one of the most memorable shots in tournament history.
Lewis’ best finish at Mission Hills came in 2007 when she placed T5 as an amateur. She’s also searching for her first official LPGA victory. As an amateur, she won the ’07 PGA NW Arkansas Championship, but it was deemed an unofficial event because weather shortened it to one round.
“It was very hot,” said Lewis, who grew up with spinal problems. “They came around, we were on the ‑‑ we were on our back side, halfway through the back side and they told the caddies they could take their suits off. Once it gets over 100 you can take your suits off.
“It was hot and the golf course is burned out and it’s just going to get harder as the week goes on.”
As a Texas native, Lewis isn’t bothered by the sweltering conditions. I mean, it didn’t get to her on Thursday, obviously. In fact, she says bring it on.
“I really don’t mind the heat at all,” said Lewis. “I’d rather have hot and humid heat than dry heat, but I grew up in Texas in the summers, so I’m used to playing golf when it’s over 100 degrees. I say bring it because the ball goes a mile, so I like it.”
Sandra Gal picked up where she left off on Sunday at the Kia and trails Lincicome and Lewis by a shot. The always-entertaining Jane Park (if you’re not following her on Twitter, do it now!) also had a fantastic day, coming in with a 68 and currently stands at T6.
Karrie Webb, who has notched two wins already this year, shot 69. Other notables including Morgan Pressel and world No. 1 and defending champion Yani Tseng are among the group that fired two-under 70s.
Tseng, who played with Gal on Thursday, praised her. “Sandra’s a good player and I was very happy to see her first win last week,” said Yani. “And she seems really confident today. She’s really making lots of putts. I think she only putted like 20 today. So I really need to putt like her.”
Meanwhile, Michelle Wie, who recently wrapped up another semester at Stanford and survived a grueling finals week, struggled with an opening 74. She was grateful to walk away at just two-over.
“I was trying to get things going,” said Wie. “Just my first nine didn’t really go the way I wanted to, but like I said, it could have gotten a lot worse. So I did a lot of damage control today, so hopefully tomorrow I’ll do a lot better.”
(AP Photos/Chris Carlson)