AURORA, Ont. – After Lizette Salas settled for second at the AIG Women’s British Open, the season’s final major, she did what she always does after a milestone in her career.
She met with her team.
“How do we keep playing the way I have? And how do we take it up a notch without feeling the pressure and being so mentally drained and all that stuff,” Salas said she asked her team. “And how to keep it fun.”
But first, she took some time to decompress. Back home in Azusa, California she celebrated her 30th birthday with a 1980’s themed bash, which had been postponed for a month due to the Tour’s busy summer schedule. Nearly 100 friends and family gathered at Azusa Greens Country Club, the same course she grew up playing and where her father, Ramon, works as a mechanic. It was a great escape from any disappointment she felt from the loss at Woburn Golf Club.
“I feel super refreshed and super excited to be back,” Salas said Tuesday.
Although the result wasn’t what Salas wanted, she knew she was doing something right. After all, she got herself in position to win her first major title and recorded her best major finish. And Salas was a consistent contender in all the majors in 2019 and never finished worse than T26. There were certainly more positives than negatives to take away from what might have been if that birdie putt dropped on the 72nd hole at Woburn Golf Club. Salas wanted to harness whatever it was that was bringing out her best golf on the game’s biggest stages. She huddled with her team, which includes her coach, caddie, trainer and parents, to dissect her major success.
“It’s just the mindset of why I’ve been able to play so well in major tournaments and the different attitude that I take during those weeks,” Salas explained. “It has helped me so much confidence-wise, game-wise. It’s just kind of opened up a whole new chapter in my golf game.”
That new chapter begins Thursday at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open, where Salas will make her first start since that runner-up finish at Woburn. It will be her first opportunity to employ that major mindset at Magna Golf Club, where she’s making her fifth appearance at the CP Women’s Open.
“Just want to keep that momentum going and set new goals and try to adapt that major mentality into every week,” Salas said.
The adoption of this new mindset comes at an ideal time as Salas prepares, in three weeks, to make her fourth Solheim Cup appearance for Team USA. If the aggressive attitude she employed in the majors brought her success, then she’ll no doubt thrive with that same mentality in the pressure-packed environment Gleneagles is sure to deliver when Team USA looks to retain the cup for the third consecutive meeting. Salas clinched the critical point to retain the cup for Captain Juli Inkster in 2017 and hopes to one day captain her own Solheim Cup team.
“It’s obviously the biggest honor to represent your country as a player and as a captain,” Salas said. “I have to win a major first, but I would love to.”
Salas didn’t get that major title just yet. But now, she’s got the attitude to win one.