Lizette Salas knew patience would be the name of the game on Saturday at the AIG Women’s Open. With conditions kicking up in the afternoon, players felt the rain for the first time all week at Carnoustie. Salas said the weather forced her to go back to “boring golf,” with a focus on not being too aggressive. The strategy worked, as she finished the day in in third at -8 after a Saturday 70, one stroke off leaders Anna Nordqvist and Nanna Koerstz Madsen.
Salas has the best score all-time by a non-winner in two different major championships – the KPMG Women's PGA Championship (2021, -16) and the AIG Women's Open (2019, -17). After an inspiring performance at the KPMG Women’s PGA in June, Salas picked up her second runner-up performance at a major, facing off against eventual winner Nelly Korda in the final grouping. In 2019, Salas went toe-to-toe with Hinako Shibuno at Woburn, finishing one stroke shy of the Smiling Cinderella. Walking away from both experiences, Salas learned a lot from being in contention.
“I think both championships … I had a really good chance of winning. I think both can help going into tomorrow. You know, battling in that final group with Nelly back in KPMG, I learned a lot. Also in 2019, coming back from a few shots back at the (AIG Women’s) Open, that just shows that I can make a move; I could play,” she said. “I think just looking back on those experiences is going to help me just kind of stay calm and be patient tomorrow. I think this is a whole new ballgame and a whole new challenge, and I think we're ready.”
The 32-year-old is not only looking for her first title since the 2014 Pure Silk Championship, but she’s fighting for a spot on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, in what she hopes will be her fifth appearance in the event. It’s been weighing on her mind, but a victory is the ultimate goal for Salas as she looks to be the 12th player to make the AIG Women’s Open her maiden major title.
“I think this week requires a different type of mental toughness. This is my fifth week in Europe and I think I slept maybe 11 hours last night. I've been pretty tired but I think this championship brings out something in me that, you know, I'm getting the job done as far as hitting good shots and putting well,” said Salas. “Been really focusing on changing my attitude as far as focusing on the positive and really just trying to peak at the right time.”