Salas, Kirk, Carter share lead at LPGA event

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Lizette Salas built on her strong fin­ish two weeks ago in the U.S. Women’s Open in the first round of the Mei­jer LPGA Clas­sic.

The 26-year-old for­mer South­ern Cal­i­for­nia player shot a bo­gey-free 7-un­der 64 on Thurs­day at Blythe­field Coun­try Club for a share of the first-round lead with Kather­ine Kirk and Dori Carter.

In the Women’s Open in Penn­syl­va­nia, Salas fin­ished with a 68 at dif­fi­cult Lan­caster to tie for 14th — her best fin­ish since ty­ing for 11th on Phoenix in March.

“My fin­ish at the (U.S. Women’s Open) kind of gave me that ex­tra boost of con­fi­dence to re­ally go low and that’s what I did to­day,” Salas said.

Salas ea­gled the 478-yard, par5 11th, hit­ting a 3-wood ap- proach to 10 feet.

“I hit ev­ery green and didn’t three-putt, few mis­takes, well, ba­si­cally zero mis­takes to­day,” Salas said. “Hope­fully, I didn’t just jinx my­self. I’m just go­ing to stay pos­i­tive and just keep con­fi­dent this whole week.”

She played the back nine in 5un­der 30, clos­ing with a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th.

“The rough is pretty gnarly, but I kept the ball in the fair­way,” Salas said. “The ea­gle on 11 got me go­ing and re­ally helped me tar­get the pins. I stayed ag­gres­sive with my putting and it is re­ally com­ing along.”

She won the 2014 Kingsmill Cham­pi­onship for her lone tour ti­tle.

Jaye Marie Green and rookie Wei-Ling Hsu were a shot back in the sec­ond-year tour­na­ment.

Michigan-born Kris Ta­mulis was at 66 along with Q Baek, Il­hee Lee and Jane Rah. Topranked In­bee Park, who lost to Mi­ram Lee in a play­off last year, had three front-nine bo­geys in a 70. Chella Choi, the Marathon Clas­sic win­ner Sun­day in Syl­va­nia, Ohio, opened with a 71.

Salas, Kirk, Carter and Green played in the morn­ing in lit­tle wind and per­fect scor­ing con­di­tions. Hsu had the best round in the af­ter­noon af­ter the wind kicked up. Park and Choi also played in the af­ter­noon.

Kirk, a two-time tour win­ner, had her best round of the year. The Aus­tralian had two bo­geys, but made seven birdies and also had an ea­gle on 11 af­ter reach­ing the green in two.

“We had per­fect con­di­tions this morn­ing, hardly any wind and then greens were very re­cep­tive early on,” she said. “I’m re­ally happy. I haven’t posted a round like that in a while so it feels good to fi­nally get the rust off and shoot a low one.”

Carter, win­less on the tour, tied her ca­reer best with the 64. She had three straight birdies in a front-nine 5-un­der 31 and said on-go­ing work with Gail Peter­son is pay­ing off.

AP PHOTO

Lizette Salas drives on the 16th hole dur­ing the first round of the Mei­jer LPGA Clas­sic golf tour­na­ment Thurs­day at Blythe­field Coun­try Club in Bel­mont, Mich.

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