Brittany Lincicome's dramatic finish at last year's ShopRite LPGA Classic came down to the final hole, her hands shaking as she made a 4-foot birdie putt to claim her fourth LPGA title.
Lincicome, not one to usually look at the leaderboard, didn't realize what a nail-biter her one-shot victory over third-ranked Jiyai Shin and No. 4 Cristie Kerr was, until she watched video highlights at a press event last week, she says.
"I'm hoping one of the tournaments I'll win by 30 strokes," Lincicome says, laughing as she discussed her 2011 victory. "Then my stress level would go down. To be so close and have it come down to the last hole, it was crazy."
Lincicome, who spoke by telephone before the 2012 Classic kicked off Monday, was feeling confident as she prepared to once again go up against the best players in professional women's golf. The tournament runs through Sunday, June 3, at Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club - a course friendly to long hitters like her, she says.
Players are competing for a $1.5-million purse in the 54-hole, official LPGA event, which will again be televised live on Golf Channel.
In addition to Lincicome, players include Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng as well as all 2012 tour winners Jessica Korda, Angela Stanford, Sue Young Yoo, Ai Miyazato and Stacy Lewis.
"I'm very excited," Lincicome says. "I hit the balls very well last week. If I keep hitting as well as I have been - hopefully we can keep that going."
Lincicome finished last year's tournament with an 11-under-202 total. She attributed part of her victory to a new caddy, former LPGA player A.J. Eathorne, who she switched to just a few weeks before the 2011 Classic.
Preparation, Lincicome says, is key - but so is keeping a relaxed state of mind. The 26-year-old pro is known to sometimes sing to herself on the course (Sugarland and Jason Aldean are a few of her favorites, she says).
"I go to the driving range an hour before," Lincicome says. "I put my headphones on. I love country music. I'm so old school - I just discovered what Pandora is. It's really great."
The ShopRite Classic also gives Lincicome and her fellow LPGA players a chance to visit Atlantic City. A well-known Texas Hold 'Em fan, Lincicome planned on getting a little card time in after Tuesday's pro-am party at Harrah's Resort, as well as picking up her tennis racket while staying at Seaview.
For Lincicome, her professional success has been a whirlwind. She began playing golf full time at 9, after watching her father and two older brothers and being drawn to the sport.
"It was a family thing that we did together," she says. "I didn't think anything of it. It's crazy to think I was 19 and turning pro. Now, I've been out (as a professional) for 8 years. Every time that I get a win … it's just unbelievable."