GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Brittany Lincicome hits the ball as far as anyone on the LPGA Tour, and she hasn’t been shy about teeing it up in a few men’s events while trying to maintain her competitive edge during the extended early breaks in the women’s tour schedule.
Coming off a competition last week in a men’s team best-ball event, Lincicome showed off the sharpness in her game Saturday by carding a 7-under-par 64 – the low round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic thus far – and holding down third place at the 36-hole mark, 2 strokes behind leader Cristie Kerr.
Lincicome, 25, who said the men’s competition is simply a way for her to stay competitive, called the event last week “unbelievably awesome.”
“I think (those events) really get me ready,” she said. “I’ve played on long courses ever since I was little. My home course was right around 7,000 yards and the guys never let me play it up. I always had to play it back. It’s really all I know.
“I feel like it helps, especially the longer irons, the 3-woods into par-3’s at men’s events. I’m going for greens (here) on par-5’s with those long irons. I think it really helps with the longer irons, which is good.”
The long irons came in handy Saturday because Lincicome birdied all three of the par-5’s at Seaview Resort’s Bay Course. However, she also birdied the layout’s three shortest par-4’s, finishing with seven birdies in all over the 6,150-yard course. She was one of just two players not to make a bogey all day and was at 136 going into Sunday’s final round.
Lincicome averaged 279 yards Saturday on her two measured drives, close to her tour-leading average of 276.0.
Lincicome hasn’t won since capturing the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship, and she’s itching to get back in the winner’s circle, or as she said Saturday: “In the same zip code.”
“It’s nice to kind of be up at the top of the leader board,” she said. “It’s nice to be getting asked questions about my round, so everything’s going in the right direction. I feel like I’m working hard, playing well. Even if (the course) was 5,000 yards, I would take that win right now.”
Shin’s balky putter
Jiyai Shin, who shot a 66 Friday to take the opening-round, saw her putter betray her early in the second round, and her 71 dropped her into a three-way tie for fourth.
The world’s No. 3-ranked player, Shin, 23, of South Korea, bogeyed her first two holes, and picked up another bogey at No. 4.
“I felt I was ready for today,” she said, “but I missed a (7-foot par) putt at the first hole and after I made the second bogey, it was like, ‘Oh God, what am I doing?’”
Shin, who played in the morning, said she would be working on her putting in the afternoon.
“My timing was a little bit bad today,” she said. “But I made a few great shots. If I have a chance for birdie tomorrow, I have to make it. I have to catch a chance.”
The unkind cut
The cut was established at 4-over 146, with 74 players qualifying for Sunday’s final round.
Among those who will not play Sunday were two-time ShopRite champion Juli Inkster (147), Morgan Pressel (147), Kraft Nabisco champion Stacy Lewis (149), Laura Davies (150) and two of the event’s sponsor exemptions – 16-year-old Alexis Thompson (152) and Mays Landing resident Joanna Coe (165), who was making her debut as a professional.
Coe, 21, shot a 79 on Saturday, improving her first-day score by seven, but still wound up last in the field through 36 holes.
The best comeback rounds of the day came from Beatriz Recari (76 to 65), Jimin Jeong (75 to 66) and Jennifer Johnson (75 to 67). All three women made the cut.
Michelle Wie hit 16 greens in her round but took 35 putts and finished at 71 for a two-day total of 1-over 143. Wie’s two birdies came on par-5’s, including the 18th, but she three-putted the ninth with a 2-foot miss on her second putt for bogey 6. … Paula Creamer couldn’t get anything going with her putter, carding 16 pars while taking 31 putts, and matched Wie’s 71 and 143. … Yani Tseng, the world’s No. 1 player, started making birdie putts – six in all – and shot a 68 that left her at 141, seven shots off the lead. ... Tee times Sunday start at 9:48 a.m., with the final pairing of Kerr and Catriona Matthew going off a 3 p.m.