Brittany Lincicome makes a statement
It would not be a reach to say Brittany Lincicome stormed the LPGA gates Sunday to solidify her place among America's best women golfers.
The 25-year-old Floridian, who admits to weathering only one hurricane in her life, toughed out the elements of arriving Hurricane Irene at the Canadian Women's Open to outlast defending champion Michelle Wie and Stacy Lewis by one stroke.
The title is the fifth of Lincicome's career, and second of 2011, making it her first multi-win season. It also pushed her to No. 10 in the Rolex Women's World Rankings. Only world No. 1 Yani Tseng has won more than twice this year.
The victory might be an indication that the long-hitting "Boom Boom'' is finally building on the physical skills she has carried since turning pro at 18. She credited recent work with a sports psychologist.
"Today was definitely one of those days that tested my patience for sure," Lincicome said in the postmatch press conference. "And that's kind of something we've been working on is kind of take one hole at a time, don't get ahead of yourself and don't think of the outcome.
"I felt like I did that really well today. ... It was nice to see myself growing and maturing as a player."
Lincicome shot a 2-under 70, battling high winds and heavy rain caused by the remnants of the arriving storm, to finish 13 under. She did such a good job of concentrating only on the moment at hand, that when the victory was finally secured, with a 40-yard up-and-down on the final hole, she didn't know it.
"It's going to be really funny when you go and watch the roll on TV," Lincicome said of her winning putt. "I looked at my caddie [A.J. Eathorne] and I was like, 'Did I win?' And she was giving me a thumbs up because I was like, 'Oh, my gosh.' I had no idea. I hadn't looked at one leaderboard the whole entire day."
Some day in the future, Lincicome believes she will look back on the victory and see it as a significant step in her career.
"Absolutely. It just shows how much patience I had to have today," she said. "I'm growing as a golfer, I guess. If this would have happened a couple years ago, I'm not sure I would have handled it the same."
A Wie bit of putting success
It's not hard to see the reason Wie came close to defending her Canadian Women's Open title. She made putts.
Wie, who has been struggling on the greens, went to the long putter about a month ago. Last week's results suggest she may finally be making progress. Wie needed 108 putts for the week -- 27, 27, 29 and 25. Her average of 27 per round topped the field and was significantly better than her season number of 30.38, which ranks 90th.
"I've been working really hard at my putting," Wie told reporters. "Finally I kind of figured out a grip that I like, and I've been going at it for a couple of weeks now. I'm getting the hang of it, just trying to make some putts out there. That's the most important thing."
Wie says she isn't fazed by criticism of the broomstick-like putter that bothers many golf purists. She isn't alone. PGA Tour players Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley have won using a long putter.
"Before I never even thought about using a long putter," Wie said. "It just wasn't in my thoughts. And all of a sudden I was just kind of practicing my strokes with my driver, which is about the same length as it. So I was like I might as well try it. It can't hurt."
Europe announces team
Europe finalized its Solheim Cup roster Monday, with captain Alison Nicholas announcing a team that features four players from the Rolex World Rankings and four captain's picks.
With Melissa Reid, Laura Davies, Suzann Pettersen and Christel Boeljon automatically qualified from the European points list, Maria Hjorth, Anna Nordqvist, Catriona Matthew and Sophie Gustafson made the squad as the four highest-ranked players not otherwise qualified.
Nicholas completed her team with the addition of Sandra Gal, Caroline Hedwall, Azahara Munoz and Karen Stupples.
Europe and the United States will compete Sept. 23-25 at Killeen Castle Golf Resort in Ireland. The U.S. has won the last three Solheim Cups.
"It has been a difficult decision to make, we thought long and hard, but I have to say, my two vice captains -- Annika Sorenstam and Joanne Morley -- have been indispensable, and it was a unanimous decision," Nicholas stated in a press release. "I got both of them to write their four picks down and I wrote mine down.
"And they happened to be the same. So that confirms our decision. I am excited that we're all on the same page."
The American Solheim Cup team was finalized last week with Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel, Lewis, Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Wie, Brittany Lang, Christina Kim, 51-year-old assistant captain Juli Inkster and Lincicome making the team on points.
U.S. captain Rosie Jones rounded out her team with Vicky Hurst, then shocked everyone when she tabbed rookie Ryann O'Toole.
By the numbers
• 3: Americans ranked in the world's top 10 -- No. 3 Kerr, No. 9 Paula Creamer and No. 10 Lincicome.
• 5: Members of the U.S. Solheim Cup team finishing among Sunday's top five: Lincicome, Wie, Lewis, Kerr and Stanford.
• 65: Career-low round posted by rookie Tiffany Joh -- seven birdies in her first 11 holes -- in Saturday's second round to jump from a tie for 20th to a tie for the lead. She eventually finished tied for 12th after Sunday's 76.
• 337,500: Winner's check in dollars.
• 67: Sunday's low score, posted by Lewis to jump from a tie for 19th after three rounds to a tie for second, one shot back.
Quote of the week
"It's pretty cool but at the same time I'm realizing, 'Oh my gosh, how much have they read?' Sometimes when I write that stuff [and] I treat it like I'm text messaging someone and I forget that there are 1,000 whatever followers that are going to see it. Not to mention apparently my mom has a Twitter. Didn't know that."
-- LPGA rookie Tiffany Joh on her Twitter posts
Steinhauer call it quits
Veteran Sherri Steinhauer ended her 26-year LPGA career at the Canadian Open with a touch of style.
Steinhauer, who is a native of Madison, Wis., chose to end her career in Canada since it was the place where she recorded her first victory -- the 1992 du Maurier Classic in Winnipeg. Her parents, Fritz and Nancie, were on hand to see that victory as they celebrated their wedding anniversary. Fritz and Steinhauer's four brothers were on hand to see her final tournament. Mother Nancie passed away in December following a battle with cancer.
"This week, Thursday, would have been Mom and Dad's 60th wedding anniversary," Steinhauer told reporters. "I wanted to come here and have this be my last event. I was fortunate enough that my brothers and dad all flew in for it, so we were all together as a family. I know Mom was with me today. I had a good round today, and I know she was with all of us."
Steinhauer's career featured eight wins, including two major titles. She will serve as an assistant U.S. captain in next month's Solheim Cup.
While walking off the 18th green, following Friday's second-round 71 that missed the cut, Steinhauer was encircled by a large collection of players and caddies.
"Golf has been so good to me, the LPGA has been great to me, and to finish on the last hole and have a lot of the players and caddies back there was really special," she said. "I thought I was going to hold the tears, but that was really emotional to see all the support from all the players and caddies. It was very special."