In 2019, Lizette Salas came just short of a major title to Hinako Shibuno, finishing second and one stroke behind the Smiling Cinderella.
At the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Salas had an inspiring run to notch a second runner-up performance in her major career, ending three strokes behind eventual champion Nelly Korda.
And a few months later, Salas found herself battling for another top finish on the LPGA Tour at Carnoustie. But just as two years before, Salas added another second-place result to her career at the AIG Women’s Open, an event she calls “her favorite.” Behind the scenes, Salas was pondering whether competing this week was something she had the strength to do.
“I came up short two years ago and I fought all week and what people don't know is that I really wanted to withdraw this week. I was so mentally exhausted. I almost threw in the towel and to put up a fight for four days, and to throw in a new putter in the bag and to put myself in that position, I just have to put things in perspective,” said Salas. “I changed my attitude from Sunday of last week to Wednesday, I changed it, and here we are. I came up just a little short again but pretty proud of myself and how I fought, especially coming down the stretch with those up-and-downs.”
At the KPMG Women’s PGA, Salas was open about her mental-health struggles. Since that week, Salas’ main objective has been to earn her way on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, which she secured on Sunday through the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and said her weeks at Atlanta Athletic Club and at Carnoustie proved that she deserves to be in contention with the best of them.
“I guess I'm just a grinder. I'm a fighter. I know nothing is ever going to be handed to me. I don't want to get emotional again, but this was a whole new, this was a different test of mental toughness and yeah, the experience,” said Salas. “KPMG just really boosted my confidence, and here just going through everything, the elements, the weather, just having done so well, I think I've just proven to myself again that I could play and that all I could go is up from here.”