Salas goes low when it counts
Lizette Salas' final round at last week's LPGA LOTTE Championship was one of the best in recent LPGA history.
Salas' 10-under-par 62 was the lowest round on the LPGA this season and the lowest score since Brittany Lincicome shot a first-round, 11-under-par 61 at the 2010 CVS Pharmacy LPGA Challenge. There were two 62s on the LPGA in 2012, by So Yeon Ryu in the final round of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic and Jiyai Shin in the first round of the Kingsmill Championship, but both occurred on par-71 courses. There were no 62s in 2011.
Salas' back-nine, 7-under-par 29 was the lowest nine holes since Yani Tseng shot a 7-under 29 in the first round of the 2012 RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.
Salas' day began with four birdies on the front nine and a bogey on the par-5 fifth hole as she went out in 3-under-par 33. She holed her second shot on the par-4 10th hole and then rolled to five consecutive birdies on holes 12-15 to reach 10-under par for the day. She barely missed making a birdie on the closing hole that would have won the tournament and put her even higher up in the LPGA record book.
Here's a look at the lowest rounds and nine holes in LPGA history (both raw score and in relation to par):
18 holes: -13 (59) Annika Sorenstam, Moon Valley Country Club, Phoenix, Ariz., second round, 2001 Standard Register PING, par 72
Nine holes: -8 (27), Jimin Kang, Seaview Marriott Resort & Spa, Bay Course, Galloway Twp., N.J., 2005 ShopRite LPGA Classic, par 35; she shot 62
Suzann Pettersen's career success
Suzanne Pettersen won for the 11th time in her career with last week's playoff win at the LPGA LOTTE Championship. The win was also her fourth in the last three years after her best season, 2007, when she won five times.
Pettersen turned pro in 2000 at age 20 and has reached a level of maturity about her own game. She turned 32 on April 7.
"It's like you get older, you get smarter," said Pettersen, who is second on the LPGA in Greens in Regulation. "I've kind of figured out how I play well, and I play well when I stay aggressive. I hate to play defensive and I hate to play away from the pins, and obviously at times you have to. That's when the experience comes in. But for me to shy away and not step on the pedal, that's not me. If I make an error being too aggressive, I can live with it. But if I make an error playing defensive trying to protect something, I wouldn't shoot myself, but it's hard for me to accept it.
"So that's pretty much the game plan I'm playing off. I still feel like I have the best ahead of me, and it's nice that you come down the stretch, you're able to just block everything out and just really just you and the ball and try making it."
Putting styles go wild
Winner Suzann Pettersen finished in a tie for first in putting last week and runner-up Lizette Salas was tied for third in the category which totals the amount of putts during the week. Pettersen and South Korea's Hee Kyung Seo each had 104 putts while Salas and Morgan Pressel had 106 putts each.
But there's much more to the story. Pettersen used an unusual routine on her putts while Salas switched from the belly putter to a conventional putter prior to the tournament.
"I've been putting with my eyes closed all week," said Peterson, who had 25 putts in the first, second and final rounds. "It's just something I did a lot in 2007. I practiced a lot with it. Back then I was like, why not bring it to the golf course. I have a lot better feel. I don't really try to steer the putt. I kind of visualize everything in my head.
"Coming down the stretch (on Sunday), it's very tempting to try and keep your eyes open to see if you can make it, but it doesn't make a change. I've just got to let it go. I'm just really trying to put a nice roll on the ball, and once that ball has left the face there's nothing I can do."
Salas put the shorter putter in her bag after using the longer version since going through the LPGA Qualifying Tournament nearly two years ago. She is currently ranked fifth on the LPGA in Putting Average.
"Everyone was telling me you're putting really good with the belly, and I said but I think it needs a break," said Salas, who had 22 putts in her final-round 62. "I was very restricted. I needed to be more free, I needed to visualize better. It's the same stroke, just not anchored."
Las Colinas gets a double bill
Within a one-mile radius, pro golf will be plentiful in Irving, Texas, over the next month. The LPGA will be playing at Las Colinas Country Club in the new North Texas Shootout this week. Las Colinas Country Club was designed by Joe Finger in 1963. The PGA Tour plays just around the corner May 16-19 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship on the TPC Four Season Las Colinas course.
Two collegiate players qualified for this week's North Texas Shootout in March. Casey Grice, a junior at North Carolina, and Madison Pressel, a senior at Texas, each shot 71s to make the field. Pressel, 21, is the younger sister of LPGA star Morgan Pressel, 24. The two have not competed together in an LPGA event. … Beatriz Recari has played in 59 consecutive LPGA tournaments, dating back to the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. She has not missed a cut in 40 straight LPGA tournaments, going back to the September 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic. … Lizette Salas has entering the final round of the last four events in the top five.
Who will win in 2014?
Will Suzann Pettersen defend her title?