Salas overcomes pre-round jitters to challenge for CP Women’s Open title

Course record 8-under 64 not enough to overcome eight-shot deficit on final day

Lizette Salas watches her approach shot on the ninth hole. Salas matched the course record with a 8-under 64 that included nine birdies and one bogey.  TYLER MULLIGAN/TORONTO OBSERVER

AURORA, Ont. – When Lizette Salas walked to the first-tee at Magna Golf Club from the practice green to start her final round at the CP Canadian Women’s Open, she was seven-shots back of the lead.

And that wasn’t the only thing she had to overcome on Sunday.

“Actually to be completely honest I had one of the worst warmups I’ve had in a very long time,” said Salas, who then went on to shoot 8-under 64 and finish tied for third with Canadian Brooke Henderson.

Salas’s scorecard would match the previous course record set by a club member and equaled the 2019 CP Women’s Open champion Jin Young Ko’s final round.

“I got into a rhythm after warmup and I’m proud of how I played today,” she added, before admitting to not know what went wrong in warm up.

“Something felt off,” said the Azusa, California native, in her post-round media availability. “Putting was not great — everything wasn’t coming close to the hole.

“That’s what the warm up is for I guess.”

After back-to-back pars to begin her day, Salas would birdie nine out of the next 12 holes to put her two-shots back of Ko and in a position to complete the comeback, something she failed to do just three weeks ago at the AIG Women’s British Open, the LPGA’s final major of the year.

Salas began that quest for her first major and second win on tour four shots back and would shoot a seven-under 65, but fell a stroke short, behind winner Hinako Shibuno.

It was that experience at the Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes, England, that helped the seven-year tour veteran overcome her pre-round troubles this weekend.

“I used that momentum from the British Open today and it worked,” said Salas. “I knew I had nothing to lose so I told myself ‘Let’s go out there and try to throw darts — see what happens.’”

All weekend fans marvelled at Ko’s bogey-free run that actually dates back to the Women’s British Open, but Salas was able to match Ko on the leaderboard.

Well, except for day one.

“I played too conservative in round one,” said Salas, who posted a one-over 73 Thursday but equaled the Korean’s 67-65-64 finish. “My putting has been unbelievable the last few weeks.

“Once we figured it out here it really made a difference the rest of the way.”

When asked if there was anything she could’ve done differently in her final round, Salas identified one hole that had given her trouble on Sunday and the entire week.

“Seventeen is tricky,” said the former All-American at the University of Southern California. “It’s just a funky tee shot — the green doesn’t hold it well. I was in between shots all week but at least I didn’t put it into the water on Sunday.”

Salas’s focus now shifts toward the Solheim Cup, a biennial golf tournament for professional female golfers with teams representing Europe and the United States.

That event begins on Sept. 13 at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland.

“I’m in Solheim mode. I have been for a long time now,” said Salas, who automatically qualified to represent the United States for the event through her performances on tour.

“To see the way my game is, it’s getting me pumped and I’m ready to put on the red, white and blue.”

This weekend’s tournament provided others with the opportunity to earn their spot on the team. One was Angel Yin, who was in a battle with Amy Olson and Annie Park for only two spots.

Yin finished tied for 10th with a two-under 70 final round which secured her place with Team USA.

“Solheim is a big deal,” said Lin, following the news she had secured her spot in the event. “In my rookie year I made it and obviously I wanted to do it again, instead of being a captain’s pick.

“My game is the best it’s ever been so I needed to trust that this weekend.”


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Posted: Aug 25 2019 8:32 pm
Filed under: Golf Sports