She didn’t know she was eligible. Brittany Lincicome, who gave birth to her second child, Sophia, in August, understood that because of her maternity leave she was entitled to play a few events outside of the normal LPGA Tour schedule, especially as she prepares for her 2023 debut at the Drive On Championship Superstition Mountain in Arizona later in March. But exactly when and where to make her warm-up starts remained open questions.
“I had originally planned on playing some (men’s) mini-tour events,” Lincicome said. “One of the ones, the West Florida Golf Tour (near her home outside Tampa) is not up and running right now, so somebody said, ‘Oh, I’m playing an Epson Tour event,’ and a little lightbulb went off in my head. I was like, ‘That would be a great warmup. I’d be playing against the other girls, playing yardages that I’m used to.’ It seemed to make sense and it wasn’t that far from home.”
The event in question was the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic at the Country Club of Winter Haven, one of the most popular courses on the Epson Tour circuit and a great event to kickstart the season.
Lincicome wasn’t the only LPGA Tour player in the field at Florida’s Natural. She wasn’t even the only major champion. Pernilla Lindberg played as well. So did LPGA Tour players Perrine Delacour, Lauren Stephenson, Jenny Coleman, Ana Belac, and Gina Kim.
“It was a great week and a great set up and I was excited to get back playing,” Lincicome said. “Two of my friends were like, ‘This is the best golf course. It’s super fun, you’re going to like it.’ But I’d never played it before because it is literally in the middle of nowhere. I had to use my GPS every day because to get there from the house we rented you had to make a right onto the street and go through two roundabouts and weave your way back to the golf course. I still couldn’t figure it out by Sunday. But the golf course was super fun. The doglegs, I loved those, and you had to pick the right lines.”
Even with the circuitous navigation, Lincicome enjoyed the experience. She turned pro straight out of high school and has been on the LPGA Tour ever since, so this was her first foray to the Epson Tour. She was pleasantly surprised by how well the event was run and by the commitment Epson made to the women’s game.
“I had heard girls talk about what it was like on the Epson Tour, and I was really impressed,” Linicicome said. “I don’t know if it’s just since Epson took over, but the little things are really nice. Like they provide yardage books to all the players, which sounds like such a small expense, but it really adds up for the year.
“They’re also helping out with Q School, which is great.
“I thought the dining was great and all the details were there. I was really pleasantly surprised by how good everything was. It seems like Epson is really dedicated to women’s golf and working hard to make it better.”
Will she make another Epson Tour appearance in the future?
“If it works out, sure,” she said. “I’m not sure how the criterium works, getting in if you’re on the LPGA Tour, but if I’m eligible and it works out schedule-wise, I’d love to play in another one.”
As you would expect, there were a few surprises.
“I didn’t realize that you could carry your bag or take a pushcart,” Lincicome said. “So I got Holly Clyburn to caddie for me. She only lives 30 minutes away. She’d played the course before, but she went back out and played it again (the week before the event) just to reacquaint herself with it, which was a really nice thing to do.
“I don’t think I would have gone out alone anyway, even if I had known. I don’t know who I would have talked to. I would have been so bored all day.
“It worked out great. Holly was great. The entire experience was really cool. I had a lot of fun.”