Lincicome Shoots 71, But Misses Cut

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Brittany Lincicome walked off the 18th green after her first PGA Tour event to applause before stopping on the way to the clubhouse to sign autographs and acknowledge spectators’ warm wishes.

The LPGA Tour player made sure to savor every moment of a historic weekend she wished could have lasted longer.

“I would’ve liked to have shot better (Thursday),” said Lincicome, who missed the cut at the Barbasol Championship after shooting a 1-under 71 on Saturday. She failed in her bid to become the first female player since 1945 to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

“Obviously, today was a pretty nice day, so I guess ending with today’s round is a good way to leave.”

Meanwhile, the crowd atop the leaderboard includes one of Lincicome’s playing partners.

Robert Streb, six-time PGA Tour winner Hunter Mahan, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt shared the lead at 18 under after a busy day in which much of the field had to complete the rain-delayed first round before starting the second. Merritt tied the course with a first-round 62 on Thursday.

“I just tried to keep pace today,” Streb said after shooting 63 with nine birdies. “Obviously, the scores were very low, you get to place the ball and the greens are holding. Everybody’s making a bunch of birdies and I’m just trying to keep up and have a chance tomorrow.”

Sam Ryder — who played with Lincicome — and Blayne Barber each shot 63, and Billy Horschel had a 69 to stand within a stroke of the lead. Richy Werenski and Cameron Percy were two behind, J.T. Poston was 15 under, and four more — including Hall of Famer Davis Love III — were within reach at 14 under.

Attention before that focused on how Lincicome would finish with her chance of making golf history out of reach.

The eight-time LPGA Tour winner with two major titles was the first woman since Michelle Wie in 2008 to play in a PGA Tour event. Lincicome had sought to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only women to make the cut. Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam and Suzy Whaley have also played in PGA Tour events.

Lincicome faced a huge hurdle after an opening 78 left her near the bottom of the field. She had six birdies in Saturday’s rain-delayed second round at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club, highlighted by an eagle-3 at 17.

“I thought I hit it a little short,” Lincicome added. “I thought it was going to spin back a little bit on me. Then when it landed I was like, OK, it’s on top and then it rolled back and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ The highlight of my week.”

Lincicome also had consecutive birdies on the sixth, seventh and eighth holes before another on No. 10. But her round included six bogeys, including three on the final four holes, and she finished at 5 over 149.

Playing partner Conrad Shindler, who made the cut and was tied for 25th, described playing with Lincicome as “a pleasure, a treat.” Despite her roller-coaster performance, he felt her approach was consistent.

“She does the same thing every shot,” he said. “She just knows where it’s going to go. Each day, she gained confidence.”

Her goal now is applying lessons learned from playing with the men back to the LPGA Tour. Lincicome couldn’t immediately say whether she would return to play this event, but seemed eager for LPGA Tour and PGA Tour players to be on the same course in some form.

That remains to be seen, but Lincicome definitely appreciated this opportunity with her PGA Tour counterparts. Even without the history.

“Just being inside the ropes with the guys, hitting on the range, on the putting green, it’s just a cool feeling,” she said. “I feel like I’m at home here. The guys just made me feel so comfortable.”

US JUNIOR AMATEUR

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (AP) — Michael Thorbjornsen rallied to win the U.S. Junior Amateur on Saturday, beating fellow 16-year-old Akshay Bhatia 1 up in the 36-hole on Baltusrol Golf Club’s Upper Course.

“I feel like this is probably the biggest junior event you can win and I somehow managed to win it,” Thorbjornsen said. “It just feels amazing because I haven’t won a tournament in around just over a year now, so this is the perfect tournament for me to win.”

Thorbjornsen, from Wellesley, Massachusetts, birdied the par-4 30th hole — after his drive hit a tree and landed in the fairway — to square the match. He took the lead for the first time on the par-4 32nd, driving the 302-yard hole and two-putting for birdie.

“I was really feeling confident at that time with a nice little fade,” Thorbjornsen said. “Just because if I hit a regular drive up 14, I’m pretty sure would’ve gone long — and long on that hole is absolutely dead.”

On the par-4 closing hole, he hit a 42-foot birdie putt to 2 feet to set up the winning par.

Bhatia, from Wake Forest, North Carolina, missed a tying 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 35th hole. On the 36th, he missed a 45-foot birdie try from the front fringe, giving Thorbjornsen the chance to end it with a par.

Thorbjornsen earned a spot in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and 2019 U.S. Amateur. With their semifinal victories, Bhatia and Thorbjornsen got spots in the U.S. Amateur next month at Pebble Beach.

“I’m pretty sure a lot of stuff hasn’t really sunk in yet, like the U.S. Am definitely, as well as the U.S. Open,” Thorbjornsen said. “But right when Akshay took off his hat and I realized it was over and I actually had won, I didn’t know like what to do with my hands, with my hat. I didn’t know where to go. I was just smiling from ear to ear, so I was just really happy.”

Bhatia had a 3-up lead after six holes and was 2-up after 20. With the usual match-play concessions, Bhatia and Thorbjornsen each shot 2-over 144. Thorbjornsen had rounds of 75 and 69, and Bhatia shot 72-72.