Now that the excitement from winning her first professional tournament has waned, Brittany Lincicome has a clearer picture on the road she wishes to follow toward her ultimate goals.
Last week's Next Generation Tour victory at Wentworth, though not on the same level as the men's Hooters and Golden Bear mini tours, gave the 18-year-old amateur standout an opportunity to test herself against former college players and veteran professionals.
The field had only 15 entries. Nevertheless, Lincicome, who is tied for 10th in the Golfweek/Sagarin national rankings, led wire-to-wire with a 73-70 for 1-over 143. That was a five-stroke margin over Sue Horton, a former Texas Christian star.
Lincicome was playing Wentworth for the first time, which could have worked in her favor with some of the challenging doglegs, narrow fairways and water hazards.
"As it happened, not being familiar with the course seemed to work to my advantage," said Lincicome, who waived first-place prize money ($800) to retain her amateur status.
"I didn't go to the tee area worrying about hazards and out-of-bounds," she said. "I just aimed for the middle of the fairways and was able to hit 12 of 13 in regulation."
She landed on 15 greens in regulation. The other members of Lincicome's threesome in Thursday's final round were tied with her on the first tee. They were Janell Howland of Idaho and Vermont's Libby Smith. Howland and Smith had trouble scoring from the blue tees measured at 6,053 yards. They each finished with 8-over 79 to fall out of contention for the top-four prize money positions.
"It definitely affects your game how well the people you are playing with are doing," Lincicome said, "but it didn't hurt me."
TOURNAMENT NOTES: With Lincicome passing up the prize money, Clearwater High School graduate Jenny Gleason moved into fourth place to claim $300. She did that by posting the third best round (74) of the final day.
Lincicome plans to pass up this week's Next Generation match, today-Thursday at Lexington Oaks in Wesley Chapel, and enter the following one on Feb.18-19 at East Lake Woodlands.
Tournament director Vincent Reid is working with Lincicome's father, Tom, trying to secure an invitation to next month's Future Tour events in Lakeland and at East Lake Woodlands. Lincicome, a home-schooled student, plans to retain her amateur status until after graduation this spring and enter a few major American Junior Golf Association matches.
Lincicome said she has played her best golf with pros Matt Mitchell, her instructor; Bardmoor assistant Lanier Waters, top amateurs such as Paula Creamer and collegiate All-Americans Sarah Huarte (Cal) and Leigh Ann Hardin (Duke). As a member of last year's U.S. Junior Solheim Cup, Lincicome competed against Europe's best girls.
Gleason will be in four of the first five Futures Tour events as a fully-exempt member of the organization, which is a step away from the LPGA.
COLLEGES: Amanda Dick (Countryside High) has the second-best average (75.36) for the ninth-ranked Gators. She's in Palos Verdes, Calif., this week playing in the Northrup Gruman Challenge.
Seminole High graduate Kyle Christman, a former two-time Times Pinellas Player of the Year, enters his final season at Winthrop (S.C.) University.
NATIONWIDE TOUR: St.Petersburg's Dan Stone tied for 46th in last weekend's Panama Open with a 72-72-74-72-290. Bob Heintz of Palm Harbor was a stroke back and tied for 50th. Ryan Gildersleeve, a 1999 Clearwater High grad and South Alabama senior, missed the 36-hole cut by two shots.
HOOTERS TOUR: Palm Harbor's Brett Weeks captured a share of second (69-66-69-204) at Wekiva Golf Club in Longwood. Stone posted 211. St.Petersburg's Dustin Atkatz, a USF graduate, missed the cut.
TWIN BROOKS: The boys and girls played from the same tees, set at 2,016 yards, in Saturday's junior tournament on the St.Petersburg par-3, 9-hole municipal course. The age 13-16 winners both shot 8-over 62 for 18 holes. They were Robbie Russell and Meg Chapman. The runners-up were Justin Loesch (67) and Kelly Rubash (73).
Tyler Pilarkski won the 10-12 division with a 66. He was followed by Ethan Smith (68). Sau Hyon Cho (70) won the girls title. Trailing was Melissa Shkima (79). In 7-9, David Weck shot 36 to win in 9 holes, and Austin Curtis finished at 43. The girls' top place-winners were Julia Pilarski (42) and Alexandra Franzese (46).