* Only sixth woman to play in men’s event
* Holes out eagle from 116 yards
* Finishes 20 strokes behind second-round leader (Adds quotes, details)
July 21 (Reuters) - American Brittany Lincicome holed out an eagle on the penultimate hole and shot a one-under 71 but failed to become only the second woman to make the cut in a men’s event at the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky on Saturday.
A six-over-par 78 in her first round on Thursday proved too big a handicap to overcome as the LPGA player finished 36 holes at five-over, on 149, well off the projected cut of four-under, according to PGATour.com. Only one woman has made the 36-hole cut in a men’s event — Babe Zaharias in 1945.
“I felt a lot calmer today,” Lincicome told Golf Digest.
“This is obviously a much bigger stage or different stage than I’m used to,” said the sixth woman to compete against the men — and the first since Michelle Wie in 2008.
“With a (LPGA) major coming up, hopefully that first tee shot I won’t be as nervous. I’ve learned to kind of play through the nerves this week, which is great. Just in the future I think that’ll really help me.”
Despite finishing 20 stokes behind second-round leader Troy Merritt in the weather-hit tournament, the long-hitting Lincicome had some delightful moments in her delayed second round at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
None was bigger than the eagle, which she holed out from 116 yards at the par five 17th hole.
“A great little grip gap wedge,” she said.
“Right when I hit it I thought I hit it a little short. I thought it was going to spin back a little bit on me. Then when it landed I was like, okay, it’s on top, and then it rolled back and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ I mean, the highlight of my week. So cool.”
Along with the eagle, Lincicome delivered five birdies and six bogeys after waiting a day to play her second round because of rain.
After a slow start with bogeys at the fourth and fifth holes, the eight-times LPGA Tour winner strung together three consecutive birdies from the sixth.
She moved to two-under with another birdie at the 10th before suffering another bogey at 11.
Lincicome pulled a stroke back with her fifth birdie at the par-five 14 but dropped to even par with consecutive bogeys.
Then came the big eagle before she signed off with another, anti-climactic bogey.
“It was a pleasure, a treat,” said Conrad Shindler who was paired with Lincicome for the round.
“She’s really consistent. She does the same thing every shot. She just knows where it’s going to go.
“Each day she gained confidence. Hit a lot of good putts. I think she made five birdies and had a great hole-out there on 17 for eagle.”
There were even words of encouragement from the British Open in Scotland where top U.S. men are playing this weekend.
“Amazing to see @Brittany1golf shoot under par in a @PGATOUR event,” tweeted twice U.S. Masters winner Bubba Watson. (Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Neville Dalton and Pritha Sarkar)