Salas Cards 68 For Early First-Round Lead At WAPL
Devens, Mass. – Lizette Salas, 19, of Azusa, Calif., fired a 4-under-par 68 to take a one-stroke lead among early finishers in the first round of stroke-play qualifying Monday at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship being contested at the 6,267-yard, par-72 Red Tail Golf Club.
Salas took a one-stroke lead over Alice Kim, 19, of Walnut, Calif., Sara-Maude Juneau, 21, of Canada, and Cydney Clanton, 19, of Concord, N.C.
Another wave of 78 players had afternoon starting times.
On a wet and drizzly day with temperatures in the low 60s and winds gusting to 25 mph, the players faced weather even more extreme than Monday's final-round U.S. Open conditions at Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y.
“In California, we hardly ever get rain,” said Salas, who recently completed her sophomore season at the University of Southern California. “When I saw the weather this morning, I knew I would just have to prepare myself mentally.”
Added Juneau: “I was expecting way worse. I tried to keep my hands dry and be more patient.”
Salas made three birdies in a row from the 11th through 13th holes to kick-start her second nine. Her first birdie came on a rambling 40-foot putt on the 11th hole. She then made a 5-footer on the 12th and a 3-footer on the 13th to drop to three under par, capping her round with a 3-foot birdie putt on the 16th.
“I was a little iffy on how I was going to play because I’ve been out for more than a week with a lower back sprain,” said Salas, who tied for medalist honors at the 2008 WAPL. “But I’ve got a new putter that really suits me and I really like this golf course.”
Kim made six birdies and a triple-bogey on her way to a 3-under-par round of 69. Her round was upended by a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 eighth hole after an unplayable lie resulted in a one-stroke penalty. She was six under par at the time and finished at three under par.
Juneau began play on Red Tail's second nine and her good round was saved when she chipped in from out of a divot on the 15th hole for a birdie. On the fourth hole, she drove into trees lining the fairway but her ball hit a tree and bounced into light rough. In the end she hit the green of the par-5 hole in three strokes and made a birdie when she sank a 15-foot putt.
The second stroke-play qualifying round will be played Tuesday with the low 64 scorers advancing to match play. A 36-hole final is slated for Saturday morning.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, for public course players, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Rhonda Glenn, manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.