Salas rallies to advance at Women’s Publinks

Lizette Salas

Lizette Salas

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Lizette Salas has two words to describe her 2-up victory on Kuriko Tsukiyama on Wednesday at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links: Emotionally stressful. Though she appeared to be physically exhausted standing near the leaderboard after closing out the match, Salas managed to keep her cool throughout the day and make a big comeback to advance to the next round.

“I made some good up and downs to keep myself alive,” Salas said, explaining that her ballstriking wasn’t great.

Tsukiyama, who qualified for match play with a birdie on the first hole of a seven-for-three playoff Tuesday, won Nos. 3 and 4 to go 2 up to start the day. It took Salas six more holes to battle back to all square as a combination of bad shots and missed opportunities plagued her round.

Salas, a rising senior at USC, made a 30-footer at No. 14 to save par and keep the match even, but missed a 5-footer at 16. Tsukiyama bogeyed the 17th to go 1 down entering the final hole, then sprayed a 5-wood left into a hazard off the 18th tee. Salas hit the par 4 in two, then sunk a 10-footer for birdie (she needed only a 2-putt to win) for the right to play another day.

“She played really well and she was strong the whole day,” Salas said of Tsukiyama’s game.

Salas will meet Lisa McCloskey, who recently transferred from Pepperdine to USC, in the Round of 32.

• • •

Early exit: Augusta James was the last player to earn a spot on the match-play bracket late Tuesday evening at the Women’s Public Links, and the first player to be dismissed Wednesday morning.

James advanced from a seven-for-three playoff (it would have been eight, but one player didn’t show up) with a birdie on the eighth hole. Jessie Jordan and Kuriko Tsukiyama had filled the first two spots after birdies at the seventh.

“It was good,” James said, taking the most positive view possible of the playoff. “It left off on a good note because I hadn’t been putting very well and I made a good putt.”

James, who has committed to N.C. State for the fall of 2011, stood near a tarp-covered leaderboard just over two hours after the match began, the first of the day, looking a little wide-eyed at her 7-and-6 loss to medalist Ariya Jutanugarn. They were the only pair to complete their match before a heavy thunderstorm left the rest of the field in safety buses scattered around the course or in the clubhouse glued to the TV as America won its World Cup match against Algeria.

Jutanugarn took an early lead on James at the second hole, where Jutanugarn recovered from a tee shot sprayed to the right (just as she had done the previous day) to card a par to James’ bogey. Jutanugarn’s only slip-up came at the third hole.

“My second shot was only 100 yards, and then I go in the bunker and made bogey,” Jutanugarn said.

James couldn’t capitalize, and Jutanugarn continued to apply pressure.

“If I had played a little bit better that second round, maybe I wouldn’t have been in this position,” James said of facing Jutanugarn. “Anything can happen in match play, so I wasn’t counting myself out of it today, for sure.”

Jutanugarn will continue to advance through the bracket, while James, of Kingston, Ontario, has her sights set on another USGA championship. James is in the United States with her grandparents, and hopes to qualify for the U.S. Girls’ Junior.

• • •

Underdog story: Victoria Fallgren and Tiffany Lua go way back to their days as junior golfers, so when Fallgren drew Lua in the first round of match play, she knew she had a tough match ahead of her. In fact, Fallgren’s boyfriend likened it to David vs. Goliath the night before play.

Fallgren, a rising sophomore at Gonzaga, fell 1 down to the UCLA standout with a bogey at the first hole, and knew it could be a long day. As Lua battled a case of the lefts, however, Fallgren battled back into the match, winning Nos. 3-5.

“From there I was just grinding it out to stay ahead all time,” she said.

Fallgren dropped a 30-footer at the 15th to turn the momentum in her direction for the final time. After Fallgren made par at the 17th and Lua made bogey, Lua conceded.

She’s a player that I’ve always really respected,” Fallgren said. “Even though she’s my age, I’ve always kind of looked up to her.”

Of the four Curtis Cuppers on the match-play bracket, Lua was the only one to fall Wednesday.

• • •

What really happened at the 16th tee: The 16th hole is one that both Kimberly Kim and Simone Hoey would like to forget. After becoming confused early in the day and teeing off at that hole instead of at the seventh, both just shake their heads at the thought and are glad to move on.

Part of the confusion was that the group was out of position, and after taking a point at the sixth hole, Kim was in a rush to hit her tee shot and pick up ground on the next group. Hoey had led the way down to the 16th after getting confused, so Kim teed it up without a second thought.

“I was like just rushing so I didn’t even look at the tee box,” Kim explained. “I hit a 3-wood on 7 and 16 so I couldn’t really tell the difference.”

After Kim’s shot, Hoey was in just as big a rush to hit her tee shot, but a spectator stopped her before she could hit. Hoey knows she just got lucky, which is part of the reason she recalled Kim’s shot and the pair moved to the seventh tee. Hoey ended up losing that hole with a bogey to Kim’s par.

“It was really unfair, and I’d rather go out in a fair game,” Hoey said.

Hoey fell to Kim, 4 and 3, after a bogey at the 15th that prevented the pair from reaching No. 16. Again.

It caps off a stressful week in which Hoey, a rising sophomore at Long Beach State, struggled to make it to South Bend. She was forced to spend Friday night in Chicago, and didn’t even receive her golf clubs until Sunday afternoon, the day before the first round of stroke-play qualifying.


Results from the Round of 64 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, played June 23 at the Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind.:

Ariya Jutanugarn def. Augusta James, 7 and 6

Karen Chung def. Grace Na, 4 and 2

Cydney Clanton def. Kathryn Rogner, 4 and 3

Kelli Oride def. Shamira Marshall, 2 and 1

Bonnie Hu def. Aimee Neff, 19 holes

Allie White def. Samantha Morrell, 2 and 1

Janine Fellows def. Jessica Wallace, 3 and 2

Sara Grantham def. Kristi Cardwell, 5 and 4

Victoria Sungmin Park def. Brittany Altomare, 1 up

Mercedes Germino def. Alexa Kim, 4 and 3

Kimberly Kim def. Simone Hoey, 4 and 3

Gyeol Park def. Aurora Kan, 3 and 2

Emily Tubert def. Maggie Yuan, 3 and 2

Anna Kim def. Allisen Corpuz, 2 and 1

Annie Park def. Alexandria Buelow, 1 up

Tiffany Lim def. Alyssa Shimel, 3 and 2

Martina Gavier def. Jessie Jordan, 3 and 2

Becca Huffer def. Joanna Coe, 4 and 3

Caroline Powers def. Kaylee Imel, 6 and 5

Alice Kim def. Hayley Hammond, 5 and 3

Nicole Zhang def. Kristin Paulson, 2 and 1

Ellen Mueller def. Suzie Lee, 1 up

Victoria Fallgren def. Tiffany Lua, 3 and 1

Joy Trotter def. Karlin Beck, 4 and 3

Lizette Salas def. Kuriko Tsukiyama, 2 up

Lisa McCloskey def. Samantha Formeck, 3 and 1

Rachel Rohanna def. Alex Stewart, 3 and 2

Lakareber Abe def. Moriya Jutanugarn, 3 and 2

Brianna Do def. Kristina Wong, 1 up

Kelly Fuchik def. Victoria Trapani, 20 holes

Candace Schepperle def. Lindsay Danielson, 5 and 4

Stephanie Kono def. Seohee Moon, 1 up

Click here for stroke-play qualifying scores

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