Maybe the pressure of the moment got to Lizette Salas, who needed a birdie on 18 to beat Sung Hyun Park and win the Indy Women in Tech Championship. It would have marked her second LPGA win, her first coming in 2014.
After missing the fairway on 18, Salas had to hit her next shot from the thick rough. She put a wedge shot to within four feet, but the birdie putt missed the hole completely. Salas, frustrated, smiled at herself moments later – as though acknowledging her own error in allowing the gravity of the moment and a possible victory get the best of her.
So instead of hoisting the trophy, she headed into a sudden death playoff with Park, who birdied the first hole to win for the third time in 2018.
The sting of the loss was there, but after the round Salas focused on the positives that got her into the playoff.
“My confidence is there. And this might draw me back a little bit, but I’m going to rise to the challenge again, and I will be back, for sure,” said Salas, who started the final round with a two-shot lead over Park.
For Park, the win is the fifth of her young career. After co-winning Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honours in 2017, Park has had a more tumultuous 2018 season. She has missed six cuts, but has won three times. With this win at Brickyard Crossing Golf Club, the 24-year-old is predicted to regain her world No.1 ranking.
Not atop the leaderboard but still one of the most talked-about players in Indianapolis, Lexi Thompson made her return to competitive golf after taking nearly a month off. Thompson, who was defending in Indiana, said she used the break from the tour to mentally cope with the toll 2017 took on her emotionally. She finished the event 17-under, tied for 12th. The four days were highlighted by a third-round 64 for Thompson.
Of the Australians, Hannah Green carded a closing 71 to share 28th place, 11 spots higher than Katherine Hull-Kirk.