Lincicome takes Sybase lead as Alfredsson falters

Brittany Lincicome
Noah K./Presswire

CLIFTON, N.J.(AP) Brittany Lincicome has not only got her game back on track, she is starting to show the consistency that all good players seem to possess.

The 23-year-old Lincicome followed an opening-round 64 with a 3-under 69 on Friday and took a two-shot lead over Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Ji Young Oh of South Korea at the LPGA Sybase Classic.

``I really had no expectations today, just to keep it under par,'' said Lincicome, who last month captured her first major in winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship. ``I was hitting it good yesterday, when I went to the range this morning, I felt like I was hitting it really well. I hit 17 greens today, which is pretty phenomenal.''

The only one that Lincicome missed in a bogey-free round was at the par-4 16th, and she putted in from off the green for a birdie.

``I've never had two full rounds, 36 holes, without making a bogey before, and I think that was the only thing on my mind on the back nine,'' Lincicome said. ``I looked at my caddie at one point and I just said, 'Can we just 3-putt one hole just to get it out of the way and I can be done with it and move forward?'''

Lincicome's 11-under 133 total on the Upper Montclair Country Club was the lowest 36-hole total on a par-72 course on the LPGA Tour this year.

First-round leader Helen Alfredsson, coming off a career-best 62, shot 76 in a round that included a missed tap-in. She was tied for fourth at 6-under with Wendy Doolan, who shot 68.

Michelle Wie, looking for her first professional win, Hall of Famer Karrie Webb and Paula Creamer were among a group at 5 under.

Three-time defending champion Lorena Ochoa had another 71 and was in danger of seeing her hold on this event end.

``I'm not playing my best and you have to play your best to win here,'' Ochoa said.

Lincicome has turned things around after a horrible 2008. She played 22 events last year and missed 11 cuts. She had one top-10 finish and earned $114,963, less than $700,000 than she earned in each of the previous two years.

After considering a year off from golf, she changed coaches and went to the practice range.

``This offseason I worked really hard to turn it back around, and luckily here I am,'' she said.

Lincicome was fortunate the 19-year-old Wie isn't closer.

She was almost perfect from tee to green, but she missed seven putts of 10 feet or less, including three on the last four holes.

``It's just a little bumpy,'' said Wie, who created some headlines earlier this week by saying she still wants to win a PGA Tour event and play in the Masters. ``I'll work on putting a little more and make some more birdies.''

The only leader to play in the morning Friday, the 28-year-old Pettersen shot a 2-under 70 that included two tap-in birdies.

Oh, who won the State Farm Classic last year, also had four birdies and two bogeys.

The downfall for the 44-year-old Alfredsson started at the fourth hole when she missed a tap-in for par. She added five more bogeys before the round ended, with the low point coming at the easy par-5 seventh. She clipped a tree on the right with her drive, pulled the next shot into the rough, then a clipped another tree before chipping onto the green and two-putting.

``I just didn't feel comfortable,'' Alfredsson said. ``I was very jittery, not like a nervous jittery, but it was not like the calm I had yesterday.''

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