When Lizette Salas first discovered she had what she called “a little thing,” a burst of muscle she had to work out every day, she wondered whether it was too little. Her new build was inspired by a high school coach who coached her to squeeze into tiny running tops.
Then came college, and she excelled at a more demanding sport. As a redshirt freshman for the University of Maryland, Salas emerged as a breakout star as the Terrapins came within a few strokes of winning the NCAA women’s golf championship. Later, as a senior in 2011, she got her “little thing” under control. Now, a year away from turning pro, Salas is playing the LPGA Tour in full and aiming for the top of the world golf rankings, which she predicted would happen “this year.”
She first got a glimpse of the potential she possessed when she watched a tape of a hometown teammate, Karrie Webb, winning a Grand Slam title in the late 1990s. She put her game in gear after a high school coach paid a visit with a video he’d made of her hitting a driving range. He drew her attention to her swing — and changed it.
“It’s something you’ve got to look at a lot, the mechanics,” she said. “It’s not pretty; you just put a bunch of little balls in the air, and they come straight at you.”
Once her ball was going straight, her game unfolded in a manner Salas said she “had never done before.”
“It was a lot of dynamic player play,” she said. “We were getting to the point where we were able to make birdies on every hole.”