Lizette Salas was standing in front of the clubhouse talking to her parents when two young kids came up for an autograph.
“You did a great job today,” the little girl said to a teary-eyed Salas.
Salas kindly signed for her small fans and smiled wide. They were obviously unaware of the painful 10-over 82 Salas shot in Round 3 that put her out of the tournament.
“I have no idea what happened,” said Salas, who played in the penultimate group. “I tried to stay patient; I tried to stay calm. I kept thinking to myself, ‘When is this nightmare going to end?’ ”
Salas hit only 10 greens in the third round and had 35 putts. She didn’t spray the ball – just hit it in all the wrong spots. It also didn’t help that her group was put on the clock on No. 9.
“You would think I would learn after the last year, what happened at the Open and the Kraft,” she said.
The former USC player played in the last group on Sunday at the 2013 Kraft and shot 79, tumbling into a tie for 25th. At last year’s Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run, Salas shot 80.
Determined to fight to the end, Salas went for the 18th green in two at Sebonack. The difference between last year and this year: She didn’t cry until the end of the round.
“This course can kick you right in the butt,” she said. “And that’s what it did to me today.”
• • •
LONE RANGER: Leader Inbee Park was the only player in the field to break par on Saturday, and she needed a birdie at the last hole to do it.
CLOSE CALLS: I.K. Kim finished in the top four at the USWO in three consecutive years. 2008, T-3; 2009, T-3; 2010, fourth.
ROUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE: The average score in Round 3: 76.56. Only five players remain under par for the tournament.
SLOW START: The toughest hole on the course is the opening hole. The par-4 1st played to an average of 4.647.
WEEK’S LEAST SHOCKING STAT: Inbee Park is tied for first in . . . putting. She’s averaging 27 putts per round.
LAST AM STANDING: Low-amateur honors are still up for grabs as all six amateurs left in the field are within three strokes of each other. Lydia Ko, Doris Chen and Casie Cathrea lead the way at 11 over.
FINAL WORD: “I think Inbee’s playing a different golf course, which you guys are unaware of yet, but she’s on a roll. There is nothing you can even do. – Brittany Lincicome