Brittany Lincicome needed a bigger boat to chase sharks in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

So she bought a 24-foot, 300 horsepower bay boat with a tower, 24 rod holders and a trawling motor.

In addition to fishing, Lincicome loves an inside straight at the poker table.

By the way, she's also into golf.

Lincicome, one of the LPGA Tour's top players, begins defense of her ShopRite LPGA Classic when the $1.5 million, 54-hole tournament begins Friday on the Bay Course at Seaview Resort in Galloway Township.

"Anytime I'm in the final hand of a poker tournament, I'm shaking," she said. "To catch a shark or to win a golf tournament is a cool rush."

Lincicome, 26, doesn't want golf to dominate her life. In addition to the golf course, there's a good chance she could be spotted on the Seaview tennis courts this week.

"Some girls need to spend eight hours on the driving range," Lincicome said. "I feel like I have a really good balance right now. I need to practice this many hours to be good. If I practice a little bit more, I might be better, but it's not something I want to sacrifice right now. I can practice an hour a day and finish sixth on the money list (last year). It's kind of a win-win."

Lincicome won last year's Classic with a birdie on the 18th hole that gave her a one-shot advantage over Jiyai Shinn and Cristie Kerr. Her Classic win was the first of two victories last season. She also won the Canadian Women's Open last August.

Lincicome finished No. 6 on the money list last year with $1,154,234 in earnings. Nicknamed "Bam Bam," she is one of the tour's longest hitters off the tee. She says her philosophy is hit it, find it, hit it again.

Lincicome grew up in Florida and turned professional when she was 19. But she has never been the type of player who hits balls on the practice range from dawn to dusk.

Lincicome also doesn't discount that one day she might spend more time on the practice range.

"I want to be successful," she said. "To be 26 right now and say I want to be No. 1 in the world is not something I want to do right now. Maybe when I'm 30 and I'm a little bit older that will be more of what I want to do. I definitely don't want to wake up when I'm 30-something and say I slacked off when I was younger."

But don't get the impression that Lincicome doesn't care about golf. She cried on the putting green after missing the cut at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix, Ariz., in March. Lincicome had not missed a cut in her previous 48 tournaments.

"I lost it," she said. "I was so dramatically crushed. I wanted to practice more and try to get better and not ever (miss a cut) again."

Lincicome is one of the tour's most personable players. She finished tied for fourth at the Mobile Bay LPAG Classic in Alabama on April 29. Lincicome was scheduled to be at Seaview on April 30 for the Classic's media day to promote the tournament.

Because she had played in one of the final groups at Mobile, she missed her Sunday night flight to Philadelphia. Lincicome could have skipped media day and spoken to local press over the phone. Instead, she woke up early on April 30 and flew to Philadelphia.

That type of commitment to sponsors and events is what LPGA officials say differentiates their tour from other professional sports.

"Brittany is a great example of what the LPGA Tour is about," Classic executive director Tim Erensen said. "She sums up what the LPGA is trying to preach and showcase to the world."

Lincicome has yet to win in 2012. But her length off the tee gives her advantage on the Bay Course. The course's three par-5 holes are all birdie or even eagle opportunities for her. She hit an 8-iron for her second shot on one par-5 last year.

"I have a lot of great memories I can take away from last year," she said.

But don't expect Lincicome to obsess about golf this week. She's got her eye on Seaview tennis courts.

"I'm bringing my racket," she said. "I can play every day."

Contact Michael McGarry:

609-272-7185