Lizette Salas went into the final round of the Kingsmill Championship with a three-stroke lead and came out with a four-stroke victory, her first on the LPGA. Salas’ final round 71 gave her plenty of breathing room, but the emotions that go with winning for the first time started to creep in on the final two holes, “I felt the nerves on 17, just to have that four-footer, and then I looked over and I had a pretty nice cushion. But still, the nerves were still there.”
The 24-year-old from Azusa, CA opened the final round with birdies on three and five to stretch her lead to six-strokes. After a bogey on eight, Salas made eight straight pars while former world no. 1 Yani Tseng put together a back nine charge.
Tseng got to within three strokes of Salas with birdies on twelve, thirteen, and fifteen. However, a double-bogey on eighteen ended Tseng’s hopes of a back nine comeback, and gave her a second place finish with Lexi Thompson and Sarah Jane Smith at nine-under.
Salas ended her par streak on seventeen after missing a four-footer for par, but she handled her nerves well on eighteen by hitting the fairway, green, and two-putting for the win.
After the round, there were several moments when Salas fought back tears of joy. She had a great opportunity to win at the Kia Classic in March with hundreds of her family and friends from Azusa, CA in attendance, and she mentioned her win at Kingsmill was for them, “I wish my parents could have been here to witness it, but I know they were glued to the TV. I think the whole city of Azusa was glued to the TV. All my junior golf kids were pulling for me. My alumni, my USC fans, just everyone. I just felt the energy from them. I wanted to win not just for me, but for them.”
–Bernie D’Amato (@bdamato711)
(Photo: Steve Helber – AP)
Quotes are courtesy of LPGA.com.