Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC Final Round Notes and Interviews

Lizette Salas
Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Lizette Salas holds the championship trophy after winning the Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort on May 18, 2014 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Kingsmill Resort - The River Course
Williamsburg, Virginia
Sunday - Final Round Notes
May 18, 2014

Rolex Rankings No. 16 Lizette Salas (-13)
Rolex Rankings No. 149 Sarah Jane Smith (-9)
Rolex Rankings No. 105 Joanna Klatten (-4)

Before Lizette Salas could even get off the 18th green the emotions hit – the demons of four close calls over the last two years exorcised. Gone are the questions, the doubts. She’s arrived and based on her previous company of winners in the 10-year history of this event, she could be headed for a major championship victory soon. Every previous winner of this event – Grace Park, Se Ri Pak, Cristie Kerr, Karrie Webb, Suzann Pettersen, Annika Sorenstam and Jiyai Shin - either had already won a major or went on to win a major after.

“I was patient, I was happy, and I was ready most importantly. I took a different approach this week of not thinking so much and trying to be perfect,” Salas said. “You know, I made a putter switch last week when I was home, and it was -- I felt so ready. There are so many emotions going on right now that I’m just trying to breathe.”

Judging by the glee with which Lydia Ko, Danielle Kang and Mina Harigae ran on the green after to celebrate her big win, she’s well deserving according to her peers. And it was fitting she had her peers to celebrate with because this was her first LPGA tournament that her parents weren’t on hand for.

“It is a dream come true. I’ve been working so hard for this. I’ve had so much support over the years and to finally break through my third season out on tour, I’m just so happy. Lot of emotions right now,” Salas said. “I wish my parents could have been here to witness it but I know they were glued to the TV. I think the whole city of Azusas was glued to the TV.”

Salas never really left it in doubt for them to worry. She opened the round with a three-shot lead and nailed a testy par putt at the first after leaving a lag putt well short. Then, she closed the door with birdies on the third and fifth hole to basically seal it up.

“That was a big putt just to start of the day – downhill slider. I even threw in a fist pump because I knew how important that was for me mentally and from a confidence standpoint. After that just kind of shook it off.”

Nancy Lopez had given her the advice of always look at the scoreboard when you’re in contention, and she followed that advice. She knew the cushion she had but still couldn’t avoid the nerves.

Nerve were there, definitely there. The knees were shaking a little bit,” said Salas. “But after being in the Solheim Cup I learned how to control them and just knew where it hit it and just really stayed patient.”

Sarah Jane Smith had played 10 competitive rounds at Kingsmill prior before this week and had never carded in the 60s. That all changed this week when Smith went 68, 71, 70 and finished with a sizzling 5-under 66 that vaulted her all the way to into a tie for 2nd - the best finish of her career – at 9-under-par 275.

“I’ve always really liked this golf course. Just never been able to put it all together,” Smith said. “So I just feel comfortable here. I think that helped. Even though my results may not have shown it, I definitely love it here.”

Smith said she got a bit nervous on 16 coming in because she didn’t expect that even 5-under would be good enough to sneak into contention on Sunday based off of the leaderboard heading in.

“Not that I didn’t feel like I could play well, I really didn’t think even I’m really happy with 5 under for the day, but I didn’t think that would sneak in to wherever it is at the moment,” she said. “So I’m happy with that.”

“A lot of emotions right now. I wish my parents could have been here to witness it, but I know they were glued to the TV. I think the whole city of Azusa was glued to the TV. All my junior golf kids were pulling for me. My alumni, my USC fans, just everyone. I just felt the energy today from them. I wanted to win not just for me but for them.”

-Lizette Salas talking about how it feels to finally be called a champion

Joanna Klatten was walking up the 15th fairway when she got the feeling – a good one was on the way. What followed was the shot of her life – a double eagle.

“Well, I hit a good drive, and I told myself I really did; I’m not making this up I told myself, I like this shot. I have a perfect 3 wood. It’s exactly the right distance, and I’ve never had a double eagle,” Klatten said. “I really told myself that. I hit it and I told my caddie, Oh, this is looking good.”

And it was good, sending the crowd assembled into a frenzy and putting Klatten forever in the books as only the second player ever to record a double eagle at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC. Katherine Kirk is the other with her two in 2007 at the 7th hole.

“It was high enough like it landed on the green and just rolled a little bit and kind of looked like it got in the hole. It was awesome because it was a good gallery and people were going crazy,” she said. “It was so much fun.”

That is the first double eagle for Klatten and first on the LPGA since March 16, 2012 when Hannah Yun did it on the 15th hole at the RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup.

“I just jumped. I hugged [my caddie]. We high-fived. We went a little crazy for a minute,” she said.

Klatten becomes only the 31st double eagle in LPGA history. Only Sherri Turner and Dawn Coe-Jones have recorded two double eagles.

Yani Tseng was sitting in sole possession of second place by two shots at 11-under-par when the 18th hole happened – a double bogey that dropped her all the way into a tie for second with Lexi Thompson and
Sarah Jane Smith. But Tseng said it wasn’t a case of trying to be aggressive and put pressure on the leaders but rather just poor putting on the last.

“No, just very disappointed on the last hole. Didn’t pick the right club for the second shot. Could be much better and closer to the hole,” Tseng said. “To finish this hole with four putts is really bad. Just screwed up my whole day. I’ve been hitting well. I’m not really happy.”

The second shot Tseng pulled that came up short was a six iron but she said she should have pulled a five. The finish was still Tseng’s best of the year, though, so she said tomorrow she might feel better about the tournament but couldn’t shake the immediate horrors of her troubles on the last.

“When you ask me now it’s hard forget about that putt. So I really have no idea,” Tseng said. “But I’ll know I had fun maybe when I sleep tonight. Right now I’m just really disappointed about that putt.”

After taking a month off of the circuit following a victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Lexi Thompson has reasserted herself right back into the mix. She finished tied for 6th two weeks ago at the North Texas Shootout and followed that up with a tie for 2nd this week. Her final-round 2-under 69 helped her vault to fifth in the Rolex World Rankings – bypassing Karrie Webb.

The top-five is her fourth top-five finish in nine events.

“Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends” is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship.

Today, three total eagles were recorded to go along with the ace by Pat Hurst yesterday. That brings the total money raised this year to $107,000. Through the first 10 tournaments prior to the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC, $103,000 had been raised.


Rolex Rankings No. 16 Lizette Salas (-13)

MODERATOR:  I would like to welcome the Kingsmill Championship champion.  Lizette, how does it feel to hear those words?
  Oh, my God, it is a dream come true.  I've been working so hard for this.  I've had so much support over the years throughout my career, and to finally break through my third season out on tour, I'm just so happy.
A lot of emotions right now.  I wish my parents could have been here to witness it, but I know they were glued to the TV.  I think the whole city of Azusa was glued to the TV.  All my junior golf kids were pulling for me.  My alumni, my USC fans, just everyone.  I just felt the energy today from them.  I wanted to win not just for me but for them.
You know, coming down 18 I asked my caddie, I said, Am I going to win this thing?  He was like, Yeah, you are.
So I just enjoyed that walk up 18.  It was a big relief.
MODERATOR:  Were you shaking?  How were the nerves during that walk?
I felt the nerves on 17 just to have that four‑footer, and then I looked over and I had a pretty nice cushion.  But still, the nerves were still there.
18 is a very intimidating hole to the eye.  Just when I hit the fairway I was like, Ah.  Okay that's down.  Now let's hit the green.  That's what we did.  Just two‑putted for my first win.  I'm so excited for it to be here in Kingsmill at such a great golf course.
MODERATOR:  You talked about your parents.  You're going home after this back to California?
MODERATOR:  Have you had a chance to talk to them or has it been too hectic?
  No, I just talked to my swing coach just now.  He was a nervous wreck the whole day.
I have not talked to my parents.  My agent has talked to my parents, and they are just very happy, super ecstatic, and I'm sure we'll have some tears of happiness when I get home tomorrow.
MODERATOR:  You mentioned yesterday you had a different approach this week.  Are you going to continue that from now on?
  I don't know.  We'll see how it feels.  I mean, it worked this week, so we'll see in the future.  Just last week when I missed the cut, or two weeks ago when I missed the cut in Dallas, I just felt like I needed a whole different approach.
I felt like I wanted to be perfect all the time.  I felt like I needed to play like a top‑tier golfer every week.  That's not it.  It's about feeling confident.  Golf is a sport where you can't control everything.  I felt like I needed to control that.
I just took a step back and looked at golf differently.  I just tried to have fun this week.  That was the most important thing.
MODERATOR:  Out on the green during the trophy presentation we mentioned that every past winner here has won a major.  So what's going to be the first major you're going to win?
  I don't know.  Any of them would be nice.  U.S. Open is a phenomenal tournament.  It's a national championship.
I'm a southern California girl, and Kraft Nabisco is really close to my heart and almost in my backyard.
Not going to be too picky, but I really prefer the Kraft Nabisco.
MODERATOR:  Let's open it up for questions.

Q.  Were you aware most of the day by how much you led?  And at some point, did you make a conscious decision just to pull back and play it safe?
  I kept looking at the leaderboard quite a bit just knowing Lydia was in the group in front and I knew she was playing well.
Towards the back I saw that Yani was going for a good run.  I just tried not force it, not to be so aggressive.  I had a five‑shot lead after 17.  I was hitting good putts but they just weren't rolling in.
Those are the times where you can get too frustrated or too caught up in, Oh, that should have gone in, should have gone in.  There is a point where you just have to move on from that.
I looked at my caddie and said, Am I being too picky right now?  He said, Yeah, you need to slow down.
So we just made in simple:  hit the fairway, hit the green, and if you rolls in, it rolls it.  If not, you can't control that.  Just stuck to my routine and stayed patient.

Q.  On 16 you had a long, long putt and came up short and you tapped it in.  On TV it looked like you had a really satisfied smile on your face.  Did you know at that time that Yani had double bogeyed 18?
  Actually, I didn't.  I had no idea until I was on 17 where I had that four‑footer.
I had no idea.  I expected her to make birdie and have a shorter lead.  She was the No. 1 player in the world at one point, so she can obviously pull off those shots.  But I had no clue she did that.

Q.  On the first hole you hit what appeared to be a pretty tentative putt.  I think you left yourself what, eight, ten feet?

Q.  How big was that putt to make it for par just to settle you down for the rest of the day?
Yeah, that was a big putt just to start off the day.  Downhill slider to the right.  I mean, I even threw in a fist pump because I knew how important that was for me mentally and on a confidence standpoint.
Just after that kind of shook it off.  I was like, Okay, just try to play your game and let's not force it.  I think I got a little too cautious on that first putt, but I just tried to play my own game.

Q.  Real quick, I saw the birdie on 5, but I didn't see the one on 3.  Could you go through that a little bit?  Well, go through both of them.
Yeah, 3 was the par‑5.  I stuck it to four feet after Hee Young stuck it to six feet.  She hit before me.  At that point, she was still three shots back.
After she missed it, I knew I had to ‑‑ I wanted to make it to increase my lead; I did just that.
The birdie putt on 5, I missed the putt on 4 which was a really good putt.
Then on 5, big slider about 15 feet right to left.  Hit center of the cup.  That was a big putt for me.
Then missed a little five‑, six‑footer on 6.  You can't make 'em all out here.

Q.  Obviously isn't your first time in contention.  Couple runner‑ups and a couple thirds.  In those tournaments, were you pleased with how you faced the Sunday pressure?  And did you change anything today from how you played in those instances?
  Yeah.  I think I was in contention once as a rookie.  Looking back, I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself.
Last season I was in contention at the Kraft Nabisco.  I had a lot of the fans out there.  I just think I needed more experience through those times.  I shot 62 to be in the playoff with Suzann, and unfortunately didn't have that win there.
I think this week, I mean this year at the Kia Classic when I was in contention and I wasn't playing ‑‑ I mean, I wasn't playing amazing golf, but I really had to grind it out all 18 holes.
So I think that experience at the Kia Classic really helped me mentally on really grinding it out all 18 holes and really finishing strong.
I think I made two birdies out of ‑‑ two of the last four holes for birdie and finished second.  So I think that really helped me stay strong for this week.
Someone is calling me.  It's Jeff.
I'll call him later.

Q.  How do you anticipate this will kind of change you?  You've already made tons of money on tour and done great; third‑year pro.  You've had a lot of success, but how do you think proving to yourself you can win will change you?
  I don't think it'll change me at all.  I think it'll just get me more excited to win more championships and to be a major champion.
At the same time, I have to think of it as a process and not focus on results so much.  I think it's just back to the basics after this.  Try to study another golf course and really try to figure out what this golf course does to your game and how your game benefits on that golf course.
Every week is different, but your mentality has to stay strong throughout the whole year.  Having 30‑plus events this year, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon.  You have to be ‑‑ I have to be very patient and not get too caught up in trying to win the tournament on Thursday rather than Sunday.

Q.  You mentioned a putting contraption or something that your dad had given you.

Q.  Talk about that a little bit.
  Yeah, he made like this L‑looking stick where you just stick it into the green and you have your alignment stick covering over it.  Just makes my putter stay low to the ground and really focus on having that arc through that line.
Really helped me stay down through the ball and visualize my line.  Seeing straight lines out there rather than ‑‑ yeah, it just made it a lot more simple for me to make putts out there.
He made it for me when I was on the Symetra Tour.  I decided to bring it out this week, so in some sense dad was here this week.


Rolex Rankings No. 16 Lizette Salas (-13)

Q. After having a little emotional moment there in the scoring tent, Lizette, you've come close to many times.  What was the difference this week?
LIZETTE SALAS:  I was patient, I was happy, and I was ready most importantly.  I took a different approach this week of not thinking so much and trying to be perfect.
You know, I made a putter switch last week when I was home, and it was ‑‑ I felt so ready.  There are so many emotions going on right now that I'm just trying to breathe.

Q.  Nancy Lopez once gave you advice that you need to look at the scoreboard when you're in contention.  Did you look at it, and when did you realize you had a pretty large margin?
I looked at it probably every chance I got.  I knew after 11 I had a three‑shot lead.
With those holes coming in, Yani was coming in really strong.  Once I got to 17 we had a nice little cushion, so I enjoyed the walk up 18.

Q.  What were the nerves like?
  There were there, definitely there.  The knees were shaking a little bit.
But after being in the Solheim Cup I learned how to control them and just knew where it hit it and just really stayed patient.

Q.  You speak of a different approach this week.  Part of the approach was your parents aren't here with you; they normally are.  This isn't just a win for you, it's a win for your whole team, most notably them.  What do you want to tell them right now?
That I love them and that I wish they were here.  Dad, this one is for you.  You did a lot for me.  Te quiero mucho, papi.  Mom, I miss you guys, and I'll be home tomorrow so we can celebrate.


Rolex Rankings No. 149 Sarah Jane Smith (-9)

Q. You came in here in three previous stops at this tournament with +18 in 10 competitive rounds; never finished better than 64th; never had a round in the 60s.  What happened this week?
SARAH JANE SMITH:  I don't know.  I've always really liked this golf course.  Just never been able to put it all together.
So I just feel comfortable here.  I think that helped.  Even though my results may not have shown it, I definitely love it here.

Q.  Nice par save there at the end.
  Yeah, got the hands going a little bit at the end.  Yeah, it was nice to finish like that.  Would have sucked to finish with a bogey.

Q.  When you woke up this morning did you think you would end the day in contention?
  No.  Not that I didn't feel like I could play well, I really didn't think even ‑‑ I'm really happy with 5‑under for the day, but I didn't think that would sneak in to wherever it is at the moment.
So I'm happy with that.

Q.  This is your best LPGA finish so far.  How did you feel nerve‑wise?  Did you think about that throughout the day?
I felt pretty good.  I kind of felt a tad nervous on 16, then I felt pretty good considering, and then 18 I got a bit jittery.  (Laughing.)

Q.  What do you do especially well today?
  I putted nicely today.  I had some nice putts early in the day from like 20 foot to get things going.  All over it was pretty good with my putting.

Q.  Been on the tour for a while, and I know you work hard to stay out here obviously.  Any extraordinary tales of things you've had to do or sacrifices you've had to make to make it work?
  My goodness, we don't really have enough time.  My first few years I was going back and forth between tours, so we drove most of that.  My husband caddies for me.  He probably gave up the most.  He was player and gave it up to support me.
He's probably the one that has that story.  I don't know, we have done some pretty ridiculous things as far as driving to make events and things like that.  It's all worth it.  It's all fun.

Q.  Where did your husband play?
  He started off, he played the Australasian stuff like trying to qualify out there.  He just never sort of got going.
He won the first stage of Australasian Q‑School, and I caddied him the second half and it didn't go very well.
He played a few events over here but didn't have status on a major tour or anything.  Definitely had the ability to do it.  He's a good caddie.

Q.  Is he here with you this week?
  Yeah, sorry.  Yeah, my caddie.  Yeah.

Q.  You have an unusual quote on your website and on the LPGA site.  She lacks the indefinable something...
Quality of weakness.  Yeah, I think Oscar Wilde.  I just liked it.  I just think it's a really nice way to say that you're not a sucker, I guess.  (Laughing.)
I just really like it.  I think maybe sometimes I'm not that, so it's nice to think it, I suppose.

Q.  Sometimes you're not ‑‑ I'm sorry, you're not a sucker?
  No, no, not sort of as get up and go as ‑‑ you know, the opposite of that, whatever that is.  I can't think of the right word.

Q.  Is that what jumps out at you?  Do you think about?
  To me it's a bit of an inspirational quote.  Not so much that I am that, but I would like to be like that.

Q.  What is your husband's name?

Q.  How long have you been married?
  Just over five years.

Q.  D‑u‑a‑n‑e?
  Yep, that's right.

Q.  You said you like the course.  What do you make of the entire thing?  They treat you pretty good here?
 Yeah, no, it's amazing.  It's always been one of my favorites.  I played it before we had a couple years off.  I had come from Futures.  That's a funny one actually.  We drove in here from a Futures event and drove all night and got in like 3:00 in the morning.
So we slept in that Monday morning.  When we came out at about 2:00 or so, they had repaved the entire parking lot except for our car.  They never told us.  The guys sitting out there were like, Oh, really sorry.
That was my first time here.  We got to go to the theme park.  They closed it down.  I just thought, This is the place to be.

Q.  What year was that?
  Must have been '08 or '09.  Yeah, I think.

Q.  Your first trip you said?
  My first year I played here, yeah.

Q.  '09, yeah.  So you moved the car and they finished the parking lot?

Q.  Which hotel was it?
  I don't remember.  It was out on the way to Old Town.  I don't know.  We Pricelined it or something.

Q.  Where had you driven from?
I have no idea.  We might have even done like a U.S. Open qualifier or something like that.  Wherever we'd come from we were exhausted.

Q.  Do you remember how long the drive was?
  No, I'm sorry.  Duane might, but he's...

Q.  You had a T6 a few years ago.  Obviously been up and down since then.  This is a huge confidence boost, but do you think you've learned something from past experience to sustain this from here on out?
  Hopefully.  This year I've put myself in better positions and haven't had the best of weekends, but it has been more consistent so far.
I've been working on my short game a lot and trying to get that up to scratch.  My ball‑striking has always been thereabouts.  Maybe not the best, but close enough to be competing.
I just haven't been, so that's really helped I think.  In this past year I got one of those putting tutor things, and it was pretty evident that I wasn't putting very well because I couldn't get it through those little balls.
So they're going through there now, so that's good.

Q.  On a day like this, Lizette is doing pretty well obviously; she's got a pretty good gap; do you scoreboard watch at all on a day like this or is it too much and you just concentrate on what you're doing?
No, I don't really have a rule where I'm not allowed to look at it, but we're playing pretty quick.  Brittany is obviously also playing, so we were just chatting away.  I kind of looked up at the wrong time.  I kind of didn't want to look then when I knew I was going all right.
It's hardly ever when you're on there.  I looked up right when it was the first page and, Oh, I didn't really want to see that.

Q.  Right when you popped up on the first page?
  Yeah, like the first page came up and I saw my name.  So I just happened to look up and connect straight to it.

Q.  Not what you want before a tee shot.
  I saw it on the greens.

Rolex Rankings No. 105 Joanna Klatten (-4)

Q. What were you hitting?  Run me through it.
  Well, I hit a good drive, and I told myself ‑‑ I really did; I'm not making this up ‑‑ I told myself, I like this shot.  I have a perfect 3‑wood.  It's exactly the right distance, and I've never had a double eagle.
I really told myself that.  I hit it and I told my caddie, Oh, this is looking good.

Q.  You can verify this?
JOANNA KLATTEN:  It was high enough like it landed on the green and just rolled a little bit and kind of looked like it got in the hole.  It was awesome because it was a good gallery and people were going crazy.  It was so much fun.

Q.  First one ever?
  First one ever.

Q.  What was it with about that particular shot that you kind of called it almost?
  What do you mean?

Q.  You said you knew you were going to make it almost.
  Yeah, yeah, sometimes you feel some sort of things are going to happen.  It's intuition.  I had a good feeling about that shot.  Of course there is a little bit of luck in that.
But I hit a great shot.  Yeah, I was expecting it to be pretty close to the hole.

Q.  That was the second one ever in this tournament.
  Really?  Awesome.

Q.  Katherine Kirk in '07 or '08.
  On the same hole?

Q.  No, on 7.
  On 7.

Q.  What club?

Q.  Distance on that, do you remember?
  It was ‑‑ I can tell you that actually now.  It was 209 meters, which is 225 yards.  So, yeah.

Q.  What was your celebration like?
Well, I just jumped.  I hugged him.  We high‑fived.  We went a little crazy for a minute.

Q.  Do you have to buy the drinks for that?
  I mean, I'll treat him well.  No worries.






Topics: Notes and Interviews, Kingsmill Championship, Salas, Lizette