RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Brittany Lincicome was brilliant when it mattered most.
Lincicome sank a six-foot eagle putt on No. 18 to upstage good friend Kristy McPherson and win the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Sunday, capturing her first victory in a major.
Never worse than three strokes behind in the final round, Lincicome stayed close as McPherson and Cristie Kerr traded the lead back and forth on a perfect day at Mission Hills.
Trailing by one, the 23-year-old Lincicome broke through with an amazing sequence of shots on the par-5 18th. After hitting a booming drive down the middle of the fairway, she launched her approach shot across the water and onto the upper part of the green, with the ball curling down just above the hole.
“Please be good,” Lincicome said as she watched the ball fly through the desert air, then smiled when it was.
She then calmly sank the putt to finish with a 3-under 69, pumped her fist and hugged McPherson, who finished tied for second with Kerr one shot back.
It was the third career victory for Lincicome, whose previous best finish in a major was a tie for second at this tournament in 2007.
Playing in the all-American final threesome, she became the first U.S. winner in the last six women’s majors. Kerr was the last to do so in the 2007 U.S. Open.
Alena Sharp of Hamilton, the lone Canadian on the leaderboard, shot 4-over 76 to finish tied for 40th.
After receiving her trophy, she joined hands with father and caddie, Tom Lincicome, and jumped into the lake surrounding the 18th.
Lincicome, who took the first-round lead Thursday with a 66, finished with a 9-under 279. McPherson shot a 72 and Kerr a 71 on Sunday.
McPherson, leading by one shot heading to No. 18, was trying to hold on for her first LPGA Tour victory when Lincicome broke through.
McPherson calls Lincicome “Bam-Bam” because of the length of her drives, and Lincicome lived up to it on the 18th, where her drive left her just 210 to the pin.
McPherson had a seesaw day.
She lost her overnight lead to Kerr on the second hole, pulled into a tie by making three birdies in four holes spanning the turn, dropped back when Kerr birdied the par-3 14th, then jumped back into the lead on the 15th when Kerr took a double-bogey after losing her ball out of bounds, hitting it through some trees and apparently clearing a wall onto Gerald Ford Drive.
Lindsey Wright (70) was fourth at 6 under, while Suzann Pettersen (66) and Meaghan Francella (69) tied for fifth at 5 under.