Defending Canadian Open champ talking up her game

Brittany Lincicome of the U.S. hopes to defend her 2011 CN Canadian Women's Open title this weekend...

Brittany Lincicome of the U.S. hopes to defend her 2011 CN Canadian Women's Open title this weekend in B.C. (REUTERS)

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:16 PM ET

COQUITLAM, B.C. - Brittany Lincicome hopes to be a Chatty Cathy come Sunday at the Vancouver Golf Club.

That way the LPGA Tour star will know she's talking her way into a strong defence of her 2011 CN Canadian Women's Open title.

"I'm a chatty player, and I love interacting with the fans -- especially if I'm playing well," said Lincicome in advance of the 2012 tour stop in Coquitlam, B.C. "I like to be out there signing autographs. I'm talking to the little girls and boys watching us and to the person who's holding the (score) sign out there."

"It doesn't matter if it's Monday or Tuesday "¦ or Sunday.

"But Sunday last year was not the best of days to be interacting with fans," continued Lincicome of the 2011 final round at the Hillsdale Golf and Country Club in Mirabel, Que. "It was raining sideways -- we were carrying umbrellas, holding our towels and trying to keep our gloves dry."

Cue Vancouver, one year later and, well, we all know how the weather can be on the Wet, erWest Coast.

Given last year's success during the waterlogged final round of the CN Women's Open, it seems this summer's locale is playing right into Lincicome's wheelhouse for her to be a repeat queen.

The weather forecast for the Vancouver area is the usual fare -- a good chance of rain with temperatures in the high teens.

"Well "¦ we all like it to be sunny and warm," said the affable Lincicome, a product of Seminole, Fla. "But the LPGA is notorious for bringing rain. We can go to a place where they've had a drought for two months, and we'll bring the rain there."

No matter to her, though.

Just as long as she brings her game.

Her 'A' game, as it turns out, has been a long time coming lately.

In fact, Lincicome described her season as "rocky" until recently. Despite her 12th-place ranking and nearly US$421,637 in earnings, the 26-year-old is still searching for her first win of the year after recording a pair of victories in 2011 -- arguably her best campaign on tour.

But she did finish tied for second behind winner Mika Miyazato in last week's Safeway Classic in North Plains, Ore., pocketing $118,654 for her three days of work.

"I was hitting the ball well and putting the lights out," Lincicome said. "It felt like before that I was doing really good things out there, but not putting everything together.

"I led the U.S. (Women's) Open (in July) on the first day, but then I shot an 80 on the second day," Lincicome continued. "So you never know how you're going to do.

"You just have to hope and pray everything comes together at the same time so you're in the right spot on Sunday."

And, hopefully, in a talkative mood.

"I want the fans to know, 'Keep Brit talking,'" Lincicome added. "That would be cool."

EATHORNE SHARP CHOICE AS CADDIE

Alena Sharp is channeling a little bit of lady -- and caddie -- luck for the 2012 CN Canadian Women's Open.

In her bid to win on home soil, the Hamilton native will have fellow Canuck and former LPGA Tour star A.J. Eathorne on her bag.

"She's the defending caddie champion," Sharp said. "That's always a plus."

Indeed, B.C.'s Eathorne will carry more than just bags at the Vancouver Golf Club -- she'll be lugging in a little mojo for Sharp -- after she caddied for Brittany Lincicome when she won the Canadian stop last year in Mirabel, Que.

"She's super-positive -- that's one of the reasons I wanted to work with her," said Sharp of Eathorne, an LPGA Tour player from 1999-2008. "A.J.'s smart, and she knows how to win.

"She stopped being a caddie full-time because she wanted to have a normal life, so she's teaching (golf) at Predator Ridge (in Vernon, B.C.)," Sharp continued. "I just called her and told her I'd love to have her come work for me (next weekend).

"I'm really excited to have her for one of the most stressful events of the season."

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNToddSaelhof


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