Fifteen-month-old Emery Reign ran around a golf course for the first time last Saturday. Lincicome missed the cut at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and drove 80 miles northwest to Aronimink Golf Club for an early practice round.
“She found it so fascinating to put the ball in the hole,” gushed her mother, Brittany Lincicome.
Emery Reign went home after that perfect round. She’s back in Florida with her father Dewald Gouws. Brittany FaceTimed with Emery on the way to the course. She was napping by the time Lincicome teed off.
Good vibes from that precious practice round continued into Thursday, where Lincicome opened with a 3-under 67 to take a share of the lead with Malaysia’s Kelly Tan.
Only a dozen players broke par on a cool and windy day. Inbee Park, who shot even par, predicted it would be the easiest day of the week. Lydia Ko, Danielle Kang, Carlota Ciganda and Gaby Lopez are among the six players who shot 2 under.
Lexi Thompson, Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Hinako Shibuno are among those who are three shots back. Only one group was left on the course when play was suspended at 6:59 p.m. ET due to darkness.
Tan, opened the ANA Inspiration with a 68 and tied for 18th last week at the ShopRite, is still searching for her first victory on the LPGA. The 26-year-old, ranked 189th in the world, takes inspiration from recent first-time winners Sophia Popov and Mel Reid.
“Winning golf tournaments out here is life-changing,” said Tan. “Yeah, it’s very emotional even when I watched them win.”
For Lincicome, something clicked on Friday on the Jersey Shore. She got out of her own way on on Friday and went on a birdie barrage, playing more aggressively. She missed the cut by one but felt like she’d rediscovered a mindset she first learned with Vision54.
“Each week it’s just kind of been let’s make the cut, let’s make the cut,” said Lincicome, “and that’s not a way an eight-time winner should play golf.”
Lincicome, 35, was diagnosed with “Mommy Thumb” early in the season but now she’s not really sure what’s going on. She has seen a number of doctors throughout the course of the year and considered surgery until she tried a brace that keeps her left thumb from bending back too far.
“I hit some balls recently and it actually didn’t hurt too bad,” she said, “but I could feel if I had to play 18 holes without it, it would be like on fire by the end of the round, so we’re just going to wear it.”
On her last hole of the day, the par-5 ninth, Lincicome switched to a cross-handed grip and watched her ball drop after circling ’round the cup.
Lincicome never considered walking away from the game after giving birth to Emery last July. That being said, winning a tournament as a mom would be the “icing” on her career.
Stacy Lewis won for the first time as a mom in August at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. Chesnee was home with her dad, Gerrod Chadwell, watching “Peppa Pig” on her iPad during most of mom’s round. They had a nice celebration when she returned.
Lincicome said her husband the TV on Thursday afternoon and showed Emery her mom in action.
“That’s pretty cool,” said Lincicome.
It could just be the start of something special.