The missing majors of Jack Nicklaus
CLOSING IN: The narrow view of Lizette Salas is that she has struggled to finish off her last two tournaments, either an entire round or one hole. She was three off the lead going into the final round at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and closed with a 79. Then, she shot 62 in the final round in Hawaii to force a playoff with Suzann Pettersen, only to chunk her approach into the water on the first extra hole, allowing Pettersen to win with a par.
The broad view is that Salas is doing everything else right, and that first win might not be too far away.
Salas had only one top 10 in her rookie season last year. Her runner-up finish at Ko Olina was her fourth top 10 this year, and she is seventh on the LPGA Tour money list with $348,463, already more than $100,000 over what she made all of last year.
Even better, she is No. 7 in the Solheim Cup standings.
“I just want to win,” said Salas, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. “I don’t play here just to travel the world. I’m here to win championships, and I’m here to change the world of golf. So if people have something bad to say, then they can say it to me. I’ll gladly take criticism. But that’s not going to stop me from achieving my goals. I’m here to fight, and that’s what I went to USC. We fight on.”
Salas was a four-time All-American for the Trojans and played on their 2008 NCAA title team.
TWO MORE MEMBERS: As much as he loves the American style of golf, Matteo Manassero of Italy isn’t in a big rush to try to join the PGA Tour. He is in his fourth year on the European Tour, though he just turned 20 on Friday.
“I want to be comfortable in the top 50 in the world,” Manassero said at the Masters. “That gives you more chances to be invited to tournaments. And it would have to be a year in which you start well and then can play more.”
Manassero, who already has three European Tour wins, played reasonably well in America, though not enough to make up much ground. He lost in the opening round of the Match Play Championship, tied for 29th in the Honda Classic and tied for 23rd at Doral before missing the cut at the Masters.
He needs to stay in the top 50 this week to get into The Players Championship.
Meanwhile, two Europeans who fared well early have taken up special temporary membership. Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark made it to the second round of Match Play, tied for seventh at Bay Hill and tied for sixth in the Masters. That has given him $632,300 in five starts. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain reached the third round of the Match Play and tied for third at Bay Hill, which helped him accrue $592,020 in five starts.
Both can receive unlimited sponsor exemptions the rest of the year. Olesen in No. 34 and Fernandez-Castano is No. 31 in the world ranking.