LPGA pro Brittany Lincicome set to play in PGA Tour event on sponsor's exemption
Victory in the last two editions of the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic has opened a new door for Brittany Lincicome—a chance to compete in a PGA Tour event.
An eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour, including two major titles, Lincicome will accept a sponsor’s exemption to play in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship, held July 19-22 at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholsville, Ky., near Lexington.
Golf World first reported on Friday morning that tournament officials planned to extend the invitation to Lincicome, with an official announcement expected to come as early as next week. A tournament source said it was a virtual certainty that Lincicome would accept the invitation to the tournament that will be held opposite the Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Lincicome, playing this week at the U.S. Women's Open, confirmed her intention to play after finishing up her second round at Shoal Creek.
"I think we'll go into it having fun and try not to put too much pressure on myself," Lincicome said. "Obviously it's a whole different ball game. I'm not trying to compete with the guys or prove anything. I've always thought it would be cool to go try."
Lincicome, 32, will be the fifth female professional to compete in a PGA Tour event, joining Michelle Wie, Annika Sorenstam, Babe Zaharias and Suzy Whaley.
Wie competed in eight events between 2004 and 2008. Though she never made a cut, a five-time LPGA winner missed by just one stroke in the 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii as a 14-year-old. Her second-round two-under-par 68 is the lowest ever a woman has ever recorded on the tour.
Prior to that, Whaley, a club professional who is the current vice president of the PGA of America, qualified to compete in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open after winning the Connecticut Section PGA tournament in 2002. Sorenstam, in the midst of her dominance on the LPGA Tour, received a sponsor’s exemption into the 2003 Colonial National Invitation Tournament in Fort Worth. Both missed the cut.
Zaharias, an LPGA founder and winner 55 women’s events, including 10 major titles, competed in the 1938 and 1945 Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club. She made the cut in the latter, still the only woman ever to do so on the tour.
Lincicome’s participation on the PGA Tour would continue a recent trend of events using exemptions to invite novel participants. Already this year former All-Pro Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and country-music star Jake Owen have competed in tour-affiliated tournaments.
Romo played in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic, a PGA Tour event played opposite the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, while Owen took part in the Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation. Both missed the cut badly.
Last year, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry competed in the Ellie Mae Classic on the Web.com Tour. He missed the cut with a pair of four-over 74s at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward Hills, Calif.
Perio, Inc., based in Columbus, Ohio, is the maker of both Barbasol and Pure Silk. It has sponsored the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic since 2013 and the Barbasol Championship, played opposite the Open Championship, since 2015.
Lincicome, who is 32nd in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, is a Pure Silk ambassador. She shot an opening-round 75 on Thursday at Shoal Creek, then followed it up with an even-par 72 on Friday morning.
The Seminole, Fla., resident is not a stranger to playing in men's tournaments. She has competed in a handful of mini-tour events in Florida during her career in an attempt to tune-up for LPGA starts. Still, she knows this will be a different animal.
"The golf course sounds like it's pretty wide open. It's going to be obviously pretty far, but that's nothing I don't think I can't handle," she said.
"There's only positives. If I play well, great. If I don't play well, it's still going to be a cool week. Hopefully a lot of people come out and follow and cheer for me because I'll need a little extra support that week."
Since its inception, the Barbasol Championship has given exemptions to top collegiate players, and that tradition will continue.
On Saturday, the Barbasol Shootout, a qualifier for the Barbasol Championship, is being conducted at Scioto Country Club in Columbus that includes the five recipients of the Jack Nicklaus Award, which recognizes the top collegiate golfers in Division I, II, III, NAIA and NJCAA. This year’s winners, respectively, are Norman Xiong of Oregon, John VanDerLaan of Florida Southern, Josh Gibson of Hope, SM Lee of Dalton State, and Callum Bruce of Midland College.