GALLOWAY, June 5, 2011 (AFP) - American Brittany Lincicome birdied the 18th hole on Sunday to complete a bogey-free weekend and take a one-stroke victory at the $1.5 million LPGA ShopRite Classic.
Lincicome escaped dense grass and sank a four-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to finish a five-under par 66 final round and take the top prize of $225,000 with a 54-hole total of 11-under 202.
South Korean Jiyai Shin and American Cristie Kerr shared second on 203, one stroke atop Scotland's Catriona Matthew with Sweden's Anna Nordqvist and South Korean I.K. Kim on 205 and World No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan seventh on 206.
Lincicome, who captured her fourth LPGA crown, had not won since taking a major crown at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco.
"It's amazing," Lincicome said. "It has been a long time since I've won so it's nice to get back in the winner's circle."
Shin and Lincicome reached the par-5 18th hole tied for the lead at 10-under par, one stroke ahead of Kerr.
Shin chipped 15 feet past the hole and left her birdie putt just on the right edge of the cup, leaving the door open for the Americans.
Lincicome's approach from 230 yards bounded over the green and into deep grass behind the putting surface, a lie that prompted a grimace from Lincicome when she walked up to her ball.
Lincicome responded by blasting out of the dense fescue to four feet from the cup and rolled in a straight birdie putt to seize the lead, forcing Kerr to make eagle to force a playoff.
Kerr was four feet off the fringe in the front of the green with her approach and left her putt for eagle six feet short to hand Lincicome the triumph. Kerr sank her birdie putt to share second with Shin.
"Coming down the stretch you never know what she can make," Lincicome said. "It feels great to come out on top against her."
Lincicome credited caddie A.J. Eathorne, a former LPGA player from Canada, with helping her keep her mental composure and avoid a bogey after taking a double bogey on the 16th hole in Friday's opening round.
"We try to focus but for just a little while," Eathorne said.
Shin birdied four holes in a row starting at the par-5 third to move into contention, then birdied the par-4 10th and 12th to seize the lead before a bogey at 14 dropped her back into a tie for the top with Lincicome at 10-under par with 36-hole leader Kerr another shot back.
Kerr, thwarted in a bid for her first victory of the season and the 15th of her LPGA career, began a run of three birdies in four holes at the third but bogeys at he par-3 seventh and par-4 eighth dropped her off the pace.
Lincicome, who eagled the third and birdied the sixth and ninth, sank a testy eight-footer for a par at the par-4 14 and moments later took the lead alone when Shin lipped out on a par putt from inside three feet at the 15th.
"I don't want to do that again," Lincicome said of the 14th. "I made that way too hard on myself."
After back-to-back bogeys and a par at 16, Shin dropped her tee shot five feet from the cup at the par-3 17th and birdied to match Lincicome for the lead again at 10-under, setting the stage for the 18th-hole showdown.