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Carnoustie 2021
'Fighter' Salas proud of strong showing
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Runners-up react
Lizette Salas in round four at Carnoustie

Lizette Salas was rightfully proud of an outstanding performance at Carnoustie after securing her second runner-up placing in the AIG Women’s Open.

A close second to Hinako Shibuno at Woburn in 2019, Salas again came within a shot of forcing a play-off as she finished on 11-under, alongside 2018 Champion Georgia Hall and Madelene Sagstrom, but one behind Anna Nordqvist.

Salas started and finished the day a single stroke off the eventual Champion, with a bogey-free 69 on Sunday not quite enough for the American to triumph.

Nevertheless, she took the positives after ending a gruelling stretch of tournaments with another hugely impressive AIG Women’s Open showing.

“It's definitely my favourite Championship, just the history, the prestige,” said Salas.

“I came up short two years ago and I fought all week and what people don't know is that I really wanted to withdraw this week. I was so mentally exhausted.

“I almost threw in the towel and to put up a fight for four days, and to throw in a new putter in the bag and to put myself in that position, I just have to put things in perspective.

“I changed my attitude from Sunday of last week to Wednesday. I changed it, and here we are. I came up just a little short again but I’m pretty proud of myself and how I fought, especially coming down the stretch with those up-and-downs.

“So all I could say is that I'm pretty proud of what I did.”

Salas insisted she was always going to play at Carnoustie given her affection for the Championship. Her performance not only brought reward this week, but also secured a fifth Solheim Cup appearance for the United States.

“I was going to play for sure, but the thought of not came into my brain because I had never been so mentally exhausted before,” Salas added.

“This is my sixth week on the road. I guess I learned that I can push myself and I could contend at a major and put myself in position.

“I guess I’m just a grinder. I’m a fighter. I’m still one of the shorter hitters on Tour, but I can still compete. I just hope I can continue this play in two weeks at the Solheim Cup.”

Hall fired two eagles on Sunday in a 67 that gave her at least a share of the clubhouse lead right up until the final pair of Nordqvist and Nanna Koerstz Madsen completed the 18th.

“I thought five- or six-under was needed today so I'm very happy with the way I played,” said Hall, who has now recorded three top-three finishes at the AIG Women’s Open since 2017.

“I had a very good back nine and managed to par my way in, so I kind of played the way I wanted.”

Koerstz Madsen was tied with Nordqvist at 12-under before a painful double-bogey at the final hole, but the Dane still took heart from her overall showing at Carnoustie as she threatened to claim a first major title.

“I'm really proud. I had a chance all the way til 18, and also on the 18th fairway,” said Koerstz Madsen.

“So I’m very pleased and I now have a way to get there, and I just need to finish the last hole as well.

“I'm really proud of what I've been working on and I do believe that it's going to come in the future.”

Sagstrom also came so close to victory, reaching 12-under with a brilliant birdie on 17 only to then hand the shot back with a bogey at the demanding final hole.

“It's a bittersweet feeling because finishing tied-second in a major, if you would have told me that before the week, I'd probably have been laughing at you,” said the Swede, who recently played at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Nordqvist.

“We are close as friends,” said Sagstrom of her compatriot. “It's just amazing to see her and her game. She's been out here for a long time and she's had major success, but I think this is going to be very high on her list too.”

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