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Preps

A tough act to follow

Brittany Lincicome leaves a record high school career behind, with a shot at the LPGA Tour on her mind.

By LAURA LEE
Published November 23, 2003

The high school golf season is over - Brittany Lincicome's last.

She won't be back to defend her Class 2A state title, as she did last month. She won't play in next season's Pinellas County Championship, which features most of the girls players in the county, and win by seven strokes. And she won't be the dominant player in the county, as she has been for three years. That will be left up to someone else.

Lincicome is on to bigger things. Soon she'll decide whether or not to turn pro. It's a question she has been asked more times than she can count, but one she won't answer until January.

"I'm leaning toward going pro, but I'll decide which way depending on how I'm playing," Lincicome said.

Lincicome has three amateur events at the start of the year, and if she's under par consistently each time she likely will go for a pro career. If not, maybe she will stick to amateur events and play some on the Futures Tour, the women's minitour.

There's also the option of going to college. But the offers from Florida and Auburn aren't as enticing as making money at a game she has played the bulk of each day since she was 10.

And after years of playing like a woman among girls, this season Lincicome became one of the girls.

After playing three seasons on the boys team, Lincicome, because of the Florida High School Athletic Association policies, was told to play with Seminole's girls team. At first she worried the boys team would have been penalized, but it turned out the Warhawks would have won the two matches she played without her scores.

Then she worried about fitting in with the girls. The only teammate she knew was Rachel Edwards and because Lincicome is homeschooled and doesn't attend Seminole as a student, she didn't know the others.

"I figured they wouldn't like me because they'd read about me in the paper, because I was Brittany Lincicome," Lincicome said. "They'd think I was stuck up."

But she said she wasn't going to stress the small commotion caused in the county after she and a girl from another school were removed from their respective boys teams.

"I was just going to go out and have fun," she said. "I didn't care."

She could have chosen to play in just four matches, the FHSAA requirement for eligibility to compete in postseason tournaments, but instead she played several with the Warhawks. By season's end, especially after the team advanced to the state tournament by winning its district and region, Lincicome said she fit in.

Lincicome's departure from the high school scene opens the door to a group of talented young golfers who most likely will share the spotlight. Northside Christian's Danielle Jackson got a piece of it by being the only player to beat Lincicome in a round of nine at Mangrove Bay.

Lincicome had the lowest average in the county, almost three strokes better than Jackson. Whether or not Pinellas County will produce another back-to-back state champion like Lincicome remains to be seen. The last time it happened was more than 50 years ago.

Coach of the year

Seminole's Steve Hoff coaches both the Seminole boys and girls teams. He worked the halls of the school to find enough players to field Seminole's first full girls team. Six girls, including Lincicome, played for the Warhawks. Seminole finished its season at the state tournament, sixth overall in Class 2A. The Warhawks also won their district and region.

[Last modified November 23, 2003, 01:46:45]


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