Brittany Lincicome was just about the only player near the top of the leaderboard at the CN Canadian Women's Open who hadn't been playing stellar golf over the 1st 54 holes, so it's only fitting that she gritted and scrambled her way to her 2nd win of the season and 5th in her career by outlasting an inspired Michelle Wie who did almost everything she needed to defend her title and staying just ahead of a relaxed Stacy Lewis who dropped a bogey-free 67 on the field before Hurricane Irene really opened up on the leaders. Despite hitting only 4 fairways all day, failing to birdie either par 5 on the back, and playing her last 11 holes in +1, Lincicome limited the damage to a single bogey on the par-4 12th, making par save after par save with the tournament on the line, even while Wie was making multiple clutch putts of her own right behind her.
The same couldn't be said for Lincicome's other challengers. Cristie Kerr got it to -13 with 4 holes to play, but missed up-and-down chances on 16 and 17. Tiffany Joh (wearing an uber-dorky rally hat) battled back to -12 with 4 to go, but finished double-bogey-bogey over her final 3 holes to knock herself out of the season-ending CME Titleholders (unless she continues to play as well as she did for most of this week in the LPGA's September events, that is; fellow rookies Jenny Shin and Jennifer Johnson, along with veteran Hee-Won Han, got in instead). Han herself bogeyed 18 when she needed a birdie to join Lewis at -12. Na Yeon Choi was in the same boat, but worse, as she had been -11 since birdieing the 10th hole--what would turn out to be her last of the tournament. Song-Hee Kim battled back to -11 with an eagle on the par-5 14th and birdie on the par-4 16th, but couldn't birdie 17 and doubled 18. And Ai Miyazato, who had a share of the lead at the end of each of the 3 previous rounds, struggled with her ballstriking and putting on her way to a 77 that almost dropped her out of the top 20.
Most of the good scores beat the worst of the weather, as 69s brought Katie Futcher to -8 and T12, Morgan Pressel, Mika Miyazato, and Gerina Piller to -6 and T18, and Amy Hung to -5 and T23. But for the most part just staying anywhere near par was a major accomplishment yesterday. Team USA should be feeling pretty proud of itself, as Americans locked up the top 5 and outnumbered Koreans in the top 25 by a 12-9 margin. Me, I was pleased to see Seon Hwa Lee and Mi Hyun Kim fight their way into the top 25 and move their way to #63 and #70 on the money list, respectively. And I'm glad to see that Lincicome is ready to break the $1M barrier in season winnings for the 1st time in her career--yet another sign that she's finally coming of age. But it's going to take some time to get over my disappointment for Ai-sama and T-Joh....
[Update 1 (12:54 am): Here's bangkokbobby! And LPGA.com.]
[Update 2 (8:24 pm): I (selfishly) wish Hound Dog were posting more open. Just click on the link to see why!]