LPGA Tour pro highlights Sour Mash

VIENNA – The perfect gift for the perfect guest.

Following their exhibition round at Monday’s 42nd annual Sour Mash Memorial Golf Tournament at Parkersburg Country Club, Brenda Stauffer presented LPGA Tour professional Brittany Lincicome with an item that served a dual purpose. What appeared to be a putter also contained a fishing rod.

In her fifth straight appearance at the Sour Mash Memorial, Lincicome carded seven birdies and had one pick-up where she failed to finish a hole, but with the graciousness of Parkersburg Country Club PGA professional Scott Davidson the 27-year-old native of St. Petersburg, Fla., still managed to tie her own course record of 6-under par 67.

“I kind of feel like I’m grandfathered in – obviously, it’s an honor to come back,” said Lincicome, who has ties to the Mid-Ohio Valley because of her parents. Her father, Tom, graduated from Parkersburg High School, and her mother, Angie, was raised in Point Pleasant.

The Callaway putter was sizzling for Lincicome, who hit a stretch of making six birdies in a span of seven holes.

“The putter was fantastic today,” Lincicome said. “I actually changed putters a couple of weeks ago, so it’s good to see there are still some birdies left in it and it’s still working.

Lincicome and Davidson kept the status quo and paired up as a team, playing their own ball while the featured foursome of Gary Ferguson, Brenda Stauffer, Lori Williamson and Stafford played a scramble format after earning the right by winning last year’s Sour Mash Memorial event.

This year marked the first time Lincicome competed against a team with women involved. The featured foursome, along with their caddies, were decked out in green shirts printed with the words “31-under” and black shorts. Last year’s winning total was 31-under par.

“That was really cute and the effort they put in to get matching outfits I thought was fantastic,” Lincicome said. “Obviously, they were pretty nervous the first couple of holes and I tried to calm them down. I think they had a good time.”

Lincicome recently completed a top 10 finish at the U.S. Women’s Open and helped maintain her fifth-place slot for the Solheim Cup, which is scheduled for Parker, Colo., Aug. 16-18. The top eight individuals automatically earn their way onto the United States’ team.

The Europeans are the defending champions, but Lincicome will put her best foot forward to make sure the Cup returns to American soil.

“I’ve been to two different dinners and they say the top five are guaranteed and nothing that can possibly change that,” said Lincicome, who has been a member of three previous Solheim Cup teams. “But obviously I want to keep playing well. It’s not about making the team – it’s about playing well for the team.”

Lincicome and a handful of Americans played a practice round at the course in Colorado earlier in the year, and will return to Colorado Golf Club for additional practice rounds once the British Open is finished on Aug. 4.

With the season half over, Lincicome ranks 41st on the LPGA money list at $178,044. Earning a spot for the Solheim Cup has been her top priority, but she also would like to climb into the top 20 with season earnings.

“I feel if I don’t finish in at least the top 20 every year then I have let myself down,” Lincicome said. “The goal the rest of the year is to get a win. That would help me finish in the top 20 on the money list.”

As for the rest of the crew who played in front of friends and family as part of a gallery which reached upwards of 100, players like Williamson enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“The gallery was supportive -no matter what we did they clapped for us,” Williamson said. “We could not have competed, but we held our own.”