St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Lincicome one step closer to LPGA card

BOB HARIG
Published October 9, 2004

A few days before she was to take the first steps in pursuit of a professional golf career, Seminole's Brittany Lincicome nearly was sidetracked.

A car accident led to a stiff neck and doubts about her ability to perform in the first stage of LPGA Tour Qualifying in Venice. Despite the discomfort, Lincicome, 18, never thought about withdrawing.

"No, I've been waiting forever to try to turn pro, so I figured I'd give it a shot," she said. "And I've been telling everyone that I'm ready for this so I didn't want to come out and fall flat on my face."

Lincicome hardly had to worry. Her 76 on Friday at Plantation Golf and Country Club - with a double-bogey, bogey finish - was more than good enough to secure one of 30 spots in the Dec.1-5 final qualifying tournament at tour headquarters in Daytona Beach.

A 72-hole total of 6-over 294 tied her for fourth, 10 strokes behind medalist Hong Mei Yang.

Clearwater's Jenny Gleason shot 74 to secure her spot in Daytona Beach. She tied for 14th, 13 shots behind Yang, who won by eight.

That got her a medal, some confidence, but not much else. At the 90-hole qualifier, all the players begin even, with approximately 20 earning full exempt status next year. The exact number will be determined by the size of the field.

After the fully exempt spots are determined, the next 35 and ties receive conditional status, which means they have access to a limited number of events next year.

PGA: J.L. Lewis Lewis shot 9-under 63 to take the lead at 14 under midway through the Michelin Championship in Las Vegas. He is one stroke ahead of Chez Reavie, Olin Browne and Alex Cejka after a round that included an eagle, six birdies and no bogeys.

"I didn't do anything stupid so that's really good for me this year," Lewis said.

The 44-year-old Lewis, who won last year and finished in the top 30 to make the Tour Championship, is 97th on the money list despite having better stats than he did in 2003. Mistakes have cost him dearly, and he's still trying to figure out why.

"It's just kind of a hard game to explain," Lewis said. "I don't know what's going on."

Lewis didn't find things too hard in the second round, where he hit 15 greens and took 25 putts.

Reavie, a 22-year-old who has yet to make an official dollar as a professional, and Browne, who lost his exempt status this year for the first time since 1996, had different reasons to be happy.

Reavie, who won the 2001 Public Links and played in the Masters and U.S. Open as an amateur, shot 64. He almost made a hole-in-one on 17, leaving the ball just off the lip, then followed it with eagle on 18. Browne, who got in the tournament at the last minute because another player withdrew, also shot 64.

LPGA: Liselotte Neumann shot her second straight 4-under 68 for a share of the second-round lead with Donna Andrews and Becky Morgan in the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship at North Augusta, S.C. Neumann, the 1988 U.S. Women's Open champion, had 22 putts in the round and holed a bunker shot for birdie on the 14th hole. Andrews also had 68, and Morgan shot 69. Cristie Kerr (68), Laura Davies (69) and Jeong Jang (67) were two strokes behind the leaders.

CHAMPIONS: Wayne Levi matched his best round on the tour and Walter Hall had his lowest score of the year, shooting 8-under 64 to share the first-round lead in the Administaff Small Business Classic in Spring, Texas. Hall and Levi each had eight birdies in bogey-free rounds. Jim Dent opened with 66, and Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, John Harris and Jim Thorpe were another stroke back. Craig Stadler, attempting to match Chi Chi Rodriguez's 1987 tour record of four straight victories, shot 69. Stadler won The Tradition, First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and SAS Championship in his past three starts.

EUROPEAN PGA: David Howell highlighted his round with eagle to take a one-stroke lead over Ryder Cup teammate Luke Donald after two rounds of the Dunhill Links Championship in St. Andrews, Scotland. Successive 65s left Howell at 12-under 130. Donald also shot 65 on the Old Course. Vijay Singh, ranked No.1 in the world, carded 70 and was tied for 21st.

IT'S OFFICIAL: Tiger Woods finally confirmed on his Web site what everybody's known for the past three days: He married Swedish nanny Elin Nordegren in Barbados.

Information from the Associated Press was used in the report.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.