Salas surges four ahead at LPGA Classic

Sat Jul 25, 2015 6:44pm EDT
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(Reuters) - American Lizette Salas, bidding for a second LPGA title, made a fast start and strong finish to take a commanding four-shot lead after the third round of the Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Saturday.

The 26-year-old from California birdied three of the first four holes, and three in a row in the last five, to fire a sizzling seven-under-par 64 in bright sunshine at the tree-lined Blythefield Country Club.

Salas, whose maiden LPGA Tour victory came at last year's Kingsmill Championship, posted a 16-under total of 197 to end the day four ahead of compatriots Lexi Thompson (68) and Kris Tamulis (67).

Germany's Caroline Masson birdied the last three holes for a 65 to finish at 10 under, level with Americans Brittany Lincicome (65), Alison Lee (70), Gerina Piller (69) and Katie Burnett (66), and South Korea's Ryu So-yeon (65).

"I made a couple of little changes after ANA, after missing the cut, and just gradually things have been coming together," Salas told Golf Channel, referring to the year's opening major, the ANA Inspiration in April.

"Hopefully I'll hold up that trophy tomorrow."

Salas tied for 14th in her previous LPGA event, the U.S. Women's Open. "Just coming off a good finish at the Open really gives me that boost of confidence," she said.

Joint leader overnight with Thompson and Lee, Salas made a rousing start with four birdies in her opening nine holes giving her an outward nine of four-under 32 and a two-shot advantage.

Though Thompson briefly cut the lead to one with birdies at 10 and 11, Salas responded with a hat-trick of birdies from the par-three 14th, where she hit her tee shot to within two feet, to storm four ahead and never relinquished her grip.   Continued...

Lizette Salas of the U.S. looks over the 12th green during the second round of the 2013 U.S. Women's Open golf championship at the Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York in this file photo taken on June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Adam Hunger