Lizette Salas leads LPGA's Kingsmill Championship
Saturday, May 17, 2014
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Lizette Salas moved into position for her first LPGA Tour victory, playing 25 holes Saturday in 6 under to take a three-stroke lead in the Kingsmill Championship.
The 24-year-old former Southern California player shot a 3-under 68 in the completion of the rain-delayed second round and birdied three of the last five holes in the afternoon for a season-best 65. She had a 13-under 200 total on Kingsmill Resort's River Course.
South Korea's Hee Young Park, the second-round leader, was second. She bogeyed No. 18 for a 69.
Second-ranked Stacy Lewis and No. 3 Lydia Ko, both trying to take the top spot in the world from Inbee Park, were five strokes back along with Katherine Kirk. Lewis shot 70, Ko 67, and Kirk 68.
Coming off a victory two weeks ago in the North Texas LPGA Shootout, Lewis would jump to No. 1 with a victory or a solo second-place finish, as long as Ko doesn't win. Ko needs a victory to move to No. 1. Inbee Park is skipping the tournament.
Kraft Nabisco winner Lexi Thompson was 7 under along with Yani Tseng and Pornanong Phatlum. Thompson shot 70, Tseng 68 and Phatlum 66.
Salas began the day with a bogey on the par-5 third — her 12th hole in the second round — and closed with a birdie on the par-4 ninth. She birdied three of the first six holes in the third round to reach 10 under and pulled ahead with birdies on Nos. 14 and 15.
Salas made an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th and saved par on the par-4 18th with a 4-footer after running her long birdie try past the hole.
She has missed some good chances to win in the last two years.
Last year, playing alongside winner Inbee Park in the final group of the Kraft Nabisco, the American finished with a 79 to tie for 25th.
Two weeks later, Salas lost a playoff to Suzann Pettersen in the LPGA LOTTE in Hawaii. Salas chunked her approach into the water on the first extra hole after closing with a tournament-record 62.
This year, Salas tied for third in the season-opening event in the Bahamas and finished second in the Kia Classic in California.