Brittany Lincicome has nary a top-20 finish on the LPGA Tour this season. She’s missed two cuts and has more rounds over par than under par.
It’s still been the best year of her life.
A two-time major champion, Lincicome, 33, is expecting her first child in September — it’s a girl! — and this week’s Pure Silk Championship at Kingsmill will be her final tournament before heading home to Florida to nest for about four months.
“I feel like I should be able to do the things that I used to do before I was pregnant,” Lincicome said, “and sometimes (I) just don’t do those things. I’m hitting the ball farther than ever. Driver is going great, which doesn’t surprise anybody.
“(But) sometimes my irons, if I don’t catch them perfectly, go 30 yards short. I’m like, hmmm. It’s just really frustrating to not be able to hit those shots.”
Occasional frustration aside, Lincicome and caddie Missy Pederson find humor in her condition. Assessing an approach during Wednesday’s pro-am, Pederson gave Lincicome the yardage.
“Eighty-six to the front, 90 to the pin,” she said.
“Don’t listen to my yardages, by the way,” Lincicome told her partners.
“Pregnant yardage,” Pederson joked.
After three consecutive winless seasons from 2012-14, Lincicome, one of the Tour’s longest hitters, found a second wind. She earned her second major victory at the 2015 ANA Inspiration and followed with victories at the 2017 and ’18 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, the latter her eighth Tour win.
Soon after, Lincicome and her husband, Dewald Gouws, learned she was pregnant. But an ultrasound at eight weeks showed no heartbeat.
“We’ve been married now three years in December,” Lincicome said. “Just started trying last year to get pregnant. Obviously got pregnant and lost the baby, which I hear is very common. It happens to a lot of people even after they’ve had children before. They have miscarriages in between children, which people don’t really talk about.”
Lincicome and Gouws, a former World Long Drive finalist from South Africa, revealed the news of her second pregnancy to their parents on Christmas Day and to social media followers in February with joyous and grateful Instagram posts, replete with emojis, hashtags and a photo of the happy couple — Lincicome is holding a jar of Prego spaghetti sauce while Gouws displays the sonogram.
Gouws’ final hashtag was #blessingfromabove.
“What a miracle,” Lincicome wrote on Instagram.
Lincicome is among three expectant moms competing this year — Sarah Jane Smith and Jackie Stoelting are the others — and next year they’ll join the 11 mothers active on the LPGA Tour.
“This is my 15th year on Tour,” Lincicome said, “and I remember when I first came out, there were kids everywhere. So many kids. There has been like a lull of no kids on Tour, and now all of a sudden there are so many babies. Had to hire more people at (the Tour’s) day care. Obviously, it’s a great problem to have and it’s nice to have other girls going through it with me.”
Lincicome is “exactly five weeks ahead of me,” said Stoelting, who plans to play three more events after Kingsmill. “So really I’ve been leaning … on things she’s gone through. She’s helped me find some maternity shorts that are good for golf. … I never knew if I’d continue to play once I had a kid, but to see so many girls doing it gives me a lot of hope and excitement that maybe I can be a working mom. …
“It’s a lot harder to play pregnant than I thought it would be. Just a little more aches and pains than I thought, and sometimes my equilibrium is off. … It’ll all be worth it in the end. I joke with my husband. Our son better have a good swing because he’s been feeling my swing. I feel like I’m rocking him to sleep when I swing.”
Kingsmill’s River Course can be a challenging walk, but Lincicome said pregnancy has not affected her stamina.
“My parents have owned a day care for 30 years,” she said, “so I’ve napped every day … since I was born. If I have an early tee time, I go to bed 8:30 or 9:00, so I get as many hours as possible, and then I take a nap after. If I have a late tee time, I just sleep in. … I haven’t been tired, sick at all. Most mornings, I wake up not realizing I’m pregnant.”
Lincicome calls Kingsmill the “perfect” venue for her 2019 exit. Pure Silk is among her sponsors, she’s played in the past 12 LPGA events here and this is the first tournament Gouws attended after they began dating.
On Wednesday night, Lincicome planned her annual visit to Williamsburg Winery.
“Obviously,” she said, “not as fun this year.”