Lincicome outlasts Lewis in playoff to win ANA Inspiration
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

Brittany Lincicome earned her second jump into Poppie’s Pond when it was all said and done after a thrilling finish at the ANA Inspiration, the LPGA’s first major of the season. Lincicome, who overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of the day and didn’t realize the significance at the time, rolled in a 10-footer for eagle on the par-5 18th in regulation — yep, the 72nd hole — to get to nine-under for the championship.

“I mean, to make eagle on any hole is pretty incredible, and then to do it on Sunday at a major, at this major where I did it in 2009,” Lincicome said, “it’s really surreal. I feel like if you would have bet me all the money in the world to see how many times you could do it, if I went back to the fairway now I probably couldn’t hit that shot again. So like I said earlier, today was my day. Somebody was looking out for me today.”

With darkness looming, Lincicome two-putted easily from 10 feet on the third playoff hole to claim her second title at Mission Hills.

“Super emotional,” Lincicome said at the 18th green after the victory. “I’m standing here, physically shaking like a leaf still. It’s over and I’m still shaking.”

Lewis had three chances for birdie to secure the victory on the 18th hole, but all of them slipped through her fingers. On the final hole in regulation, Lewis missed a 13-footer for the win. Then, on the first and second extra holes, she failed to make a 15-footer and 12-footer, respectively.

On the third playoff hole, Lewis laid up on her second shot, which ended up in a divot. Her next shot landed short of the green on the apron and she failed to get up-and-down, settling for bogey and the loss.

“Just right when the club came down, it just caught both sides of the divot, basically of the turf, and it just killed it,” said Lewis. “I got no good contact on the ball, killed all the momentum.”

She added: “The initial reaction is disappointed, obviously. 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.”

The win breaks a nearly four-year winless drought and comes just eight months after losing in a playoff to Inbee Park at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

“We’ve been close so many times, and it’s just one of those where don’t let it get to you,” Lincicome said. “We’ll just keep feeding from it and something good is going to happen. Lo and behold here, 2009 I won on Easter Sunday, and today is Easter Sunday, so it’s pretty crazy to think about.”

Lincicome’s victory was a bit of redemption from another one of the women’s majors, the LPGA Championship. The 29-year-old Floridian gave up a one-shot lead on the 18th hole in regulation and wound up in a playoff, which she ultimately lost to Inbee Park.

Lincicome, who has six wins on the LPGA, also captured this championship in 2009.