Three-way tie for lead amid heat at U.S. Women's Open
Although plenty of athletes have used sports to lift themselves up from difficult backgrounds, Lizette Salas' path to the pros isn't the...
KOHLER, Wis. — Although plenty of athletes have used sports to lift themselves up from difficult backgrounds, Lizette Salas' path to the pros isn't the sort of story that's often heard in golf.
The 22-year-old Salas shot a 3-under-par 69 in the first round of the U.S. Women's Open on Thursday, grabbing a share of the lead along with fellow Americans Cristie Kerr, the 2007 Open winner, and Brittany Lincicome.
Salas is the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Azusa, Calif., a city with a history of gang issues outside Los Angeles. With help from her family, she used golf to earn a scholarship to USC — and now a spot on the LPGA Tour and a share of the Open lead.
With her family on hand to cheer her on this week, Salas sees her play as a tribute to her parents.
"My dad still works long hours out on the golf course, my mom also," Salas said. "So this is just my way of repaying them for all their sacrifice and all the work they've done for me."
Third-ranked Ai Miyazato, the Japanese star coming off a victory Sunday in the LPGA Tour event in Arkansas, was a stroke back along with 17-year-old Lexi Thompson, Jennie Lee and Beatriz Recari. Seven players — including No. 5 Na Yeon Choi and No. 6 Suzann Pettersen — shot 71 in the nearly 100-degree heat and high humidity that turned Blackwolf Run, a challenging 6,944-yard course in central Wisconsin, into a boiler.
Defending champion So Yeon Ryu finished with a 74. Se Ri Pak, who won the Open at Blackwolf Run in 1998, shot a 72.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 74. She would become the youngest player to complete a career Grand Slam with a victory this weekend.
Michelle Wie also opened with a 74, and second-ranked Stacy Lewis shot 77.
Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' niece, had a 75.
Wendy Ward, who lives near Edwall, outside Spokane, and Jimin Kang, a graduate of King's High School in Shoreline, each shot a 72. Former Husky Paige Mackenzie had a 75.
Salas began with a birdie on the 348-yard, par-4 first hole, with a 9-iron approach that left her with a 7-foot putt. It was one of her four birdies on the day. Her only bogey came on the 375-yard, par-4 11th.
The other leaders have an edge in terms of experience.
Kerr is a 14-time winner on the LPGA Tour and the 2007 Open winner. But she was winless in 2011 after winning at least one tournament in each of the previous seven years.
The long-hitting Lincicome has five career LPGA Tour wins, including a major win at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Singh shoots 63
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Vijay Singh shot a 7-under 63 to take the first-round lead in the Greenbrier Classic, leaving Tiger Woods eight strokes back.
The 49-year-old Singh birdied his final four holes on The Old White TPC course. He won the last of his 34 PGA Tour titles in 2008.
Jeff Maggert, a year younger than Singh, was a stroke back at 64 along with Jonathan Byrd and Martin Flores. U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson topped a group at 65.
Woods, coming off a victory Sunday at Congressional, had a 71. He stumbled with a double bogey on the par-5 17th, driving into a hazard, taking a penalty stroke and three-putting from 20 feet.
Phil Mickelson also opened with a 71.
Former Husky Richard H. Lee shot a 67. Former Husky Troy Kelly had a 69.
• Sweden's Christian Nilsson shot a 6-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the French Open in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.