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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2007 > LPGA > Ginn Open > Round 4
 

GINN OPEN RELATED STORIES





Brittany Linicome wins as leaders falter

Brittany Lincicome spent most of the Ginn Open's final round stalking Lorena Ochoa and Laura Davies, waiting to see if the leaders would fold.

And they did.

Ochoa missed a chance to pass Annika Sorenstam as the world's No. 1 player, Davies couldn't inch closer to the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame, and Lincicome reaped the benefits. She started four shots behind them, then survived blustery conditions and a six-hour round to shoot an even-par 72 and finish at 10 under, beating Ochoa by one shot.

"Third place was going to be a great score," said Lincicome, the Women's World Match Play winner last year. "I tried to stay patient and it paid off."

Paid off nicely, too. She earned $390,000, plus a new car, a necklace and a spa trip -- something Ochoa and Davies probably felt like they needed after their Sunday struggles.

Ochoa (77) was 6 over on her final six holes, a stunning collapse. Only a win would have pushed Ochoa atop this week's world rankings, but the Mexican star missed a 10-foot bogey try on the final hole that would have forced a playoff.

"It's hard to describe," Ochoa said. "Not meant to be. I tried really hard."

Davies (79) had the outright lead with two holes to play, but three-putted her way to double bogey at the 17th and then bounced around bunkers for a disastrous triple bogey at the last. She finished alone in third at 7 under, one shot better than Juli Inkster (72) and Nicole Castrale (74).

Morning storms delayed play for 2 1/2 hours, and once the sky cleared, the wind followed. A 41 mph gust was measured in the area at mid-afternoon, and the wind steadily blew in the 20-25 mph range, causing an already tough course to nearly become unbearable.

Only one player -- Meena Lee, who shot 71 -- broke par in the final round.

Players backed off many putts. Ochoa stepped away from her par try at the 16th twice, the second time because her cap was about to blow off her head. And play was dreadfully slow; the leaders were out there for six hours, not counting delays.

"Tough conditions prove who's the best player," Ochoa said. "And today it was Brittany, for sure."

The day's average score was 76.5, 4 1/2 shots higher than Saturday. Natalie Gulbis, who started the day tied for third and four shots off the lead, shot an 80 and finished 2 under, and 10 other players shot in the 80s.

The back nine was simply wild, with all three players in the final group getting some time atop the leaderboard.

Ochoa made the turn at 15 under, one shot ahead of Davies and four up on Lincicome. But Ochoa made a double-bogey at 13 and bogeys at the 15th and 16th, giving back four shots in a four-hole span, a collapse that gave Davies a one-stroke lead with two holes to play.

But Davies -- who needs two LPGA wins or one more major to qualify for the Hall of Fame -- wasted the opportunity.

Davies' third shot at the par-5 17th went over the green. She chipped to about 6 feet, barely inside of where Lincicome's third shot from a fairway bunker 95 yards away landed.

Lincicome's par putt dropped perfectly, and Davies studied it, knowing hers was on exactly the same line. But she missed, and exacerbated her woes by having the bogey try from 3 feet lip out -- making her settle for a double-bogey 7 and giving the lead back to Ochoa and Lincicome at 11 under.

"A three-putt on these greens, as windy as it is, it's possible to do it," Davies said. "But what a bad time to do it."

At the 18th, things got even worse. Davies' tee shot landed in a bunker, and her second clipped the lip of that trap and landed in another a short distance ahead. She eventually made triple, her hopes of ending a nearly six-year drought between LPGA wins suddenly gone.

Just as suddenly, Lincicome -- who tied for second at the Kraft Nabisco, the season's first major -- is seeing her star rising. Her photo wasn't among the couple dozen promotional shots lining the road to the course this week, something that surely won't be the case next year.

"Hopefully after this week," Lincicome said, "I'll see my name out there."

 




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