Salas vaults into four-shot lead at Meijer Classic golf

Grand Rapids (United States) (AFP) - Lizette Salas moved four strokes ahead of the field by firing a bogey-free seven-under 64 in the third round of the USLPGA Tour's Meijer Classic.

The 26-year-old American birdied three of her first four holes and added three straight birdies beginning at No. 14 to finish 54-holes at 16-under 197.

She set the event's 54-hole scoring record, breaking the old mark of 200 established by Park In-Bee in the first year of the tournament.

"I'm glad to be in this position and hope to be holding the trophy tomorrow," said Salas. "I came off a good finish (a tie for 14th) in the US Women's Open and I'm feeling confident right now."

Salas' playing partner Saturday was Lexi Thompson, who posted a three-under 68 and shares second place with Kris Tamulis (67) at 12-under.

Brittany Lincicome, South Korean Ryu So-Yeon and Caroline Masson, of Germany, all shot six-under 65 to move into a tie for fourth at 10-under-par 203.

They were joined there by Korean-American rookie Alison Lee (70), Gerina Piller (69) and Katie Burnett (66).

World number one Park highlights a group of four players in a tie for 10th. She posted a five-under 66 to end three rounds on 204 at the Blythefield Country Club.

Salas' lone USLPGA Tour win came at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship. Three months ago she felt she needed a change so she hired a new coach and revamped her swing.

"Everything is coming together," said Salas.

Salas started quickly in round three, with a birdie on the par-five first hole. She parred the second then posted back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 and 4. She capped the front nine with another birdie on the par-four ninth.

She caught fire again on the back nine with a birdie run that carried her through the par-three 14, par-four 15 and par-four 16.

Thompson bounced back from her only bogey of the day on No. 17 with a two-foot birdie putt on the last hole to shoot 68.

Tamulis, who hails from Michigan, was at even par for her round through nine holes before carding four birdies on the back nine. She is excited about having an opportunity to win in front of family and friends.

"It would be a dream to win in my home state," Tamulis said. "I played all my junior golf here. People have been coming up to me all week saying they saw me when I was this big."