Why Lizette Salas’ Dow team win was bigger than we may have realized

Why Lizette Salas’ Dow team win was bigger than we may have realized
Please Share

Lizette Salas’ five-shot victory alongside Jennifer Kupcho last Saturday at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, the LPGA’s annual team event, was more than just a birthday present to the now 33-year-old Salas.

It was a potential career-saver.

Coming off a season in which she posted two runner-up finishes in major championships, Salas had struggled mightily this year. She still doesn’t have an individual top-10 since tying for second at the AIG Women’s Open last summer, and prior to the Dow she had missed four of six cuts, dropping to No. 41 in the world rankings.

“Missing a few cuts already this year, it was not fun as I wanted it to be,” Salas said.

For a player who seriously contemplated retirement a few years ago, Salas’ poor play this year was another test of resolve. Salas, still worried about being a “one-hit wonder” having not won since her maiden title in 2014, couldn’t help but think back to those low moments and wonder if this latest slump would finally be the breaking point.

“To be honest, at the beginning of that year (2019) I questioned myself, like I don’t know how much fight I have left. I love being out here. Just golf is such a tough sport, and if you’re not prepared, it could just eat you alive mentally,” Salas reflected. “I was really scared about that [happening again]. But getting this ‘W’ just really flipped the switch on me. You know, just kind of lit that fire again. I’m excited. I’m excited to be on the golf course. Excited for these next couple majors coming up.”

Full-field scores from the Amundi Evian Championship

Salas will ride her winning momentum into this week’s Amundi Evian Championship in France, where she’s posted four career top-25s in seven starts, though no top-10s. She’s never entered the Evian quite like this, however.

Before Salas boarded her connecting flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Geneva, after her Dow win, she FaceTimed her dad and coach. When she hung up and boarded her flight, it hit her.

“Replaying everything that’s happened since 2014 – all the ups and downs, the almost throwing in the towel, almost winning a few majors. Everything kind of blew up,” she said.

“Just super grateful. Relieved. … This is why there is a village to back you up and to remind you of how good of a player you are and how much fight you have.”

Now 33, Salas clearly still has a lot of fight left.

Source link