Uses Experience To Edge Pressel, 1 Up
– A year ago, Sarah Huarte
might not have been able to
pull off the shot. At the 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur, she was just
another name in the draw, another player trying to prove she belonged
with the best.
|Sarah Huarte reacts to making a birdie
at 16 to square her quarterfinal match with Morgan Pressel.
Huarte posted a 1-up win. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)
reached the third round at Philadelphia Country Club, but ran into
the more-polished Virada Nirapathpongporn,
who disposed the Shingle Springs, Calif.,
resident 5 and 4 en route to the championship.
came the South Atlantic Women's Amateur this past January
at Oceanside Country Club in Ormond
when she knocked a 7-iron to three feet at the 72nd hole to beat
and Ireland Curtis Cupper Emma Duggleby and Paula
by a stroke. It was Huarte's
first major amateur victory and was the impetus to bigger and better
long after, the USGA named Huarte to the 2004 Curtis Cup and she
verified that selection by winning the individual title at the NCAA
Division I Women's Championship, shooting a 72-hole record 278 (10
under) in her final competition in a University of California-Berkeley
like a few big victories to boost the confidence.
as the 22-year-old Huarte eyed what appeared to be an impossible
up and down at the 17th hole in her quarterfinal match Friday afternoon
against 16-year-old Morgan Pressel at the 104th U.S. Women's Amateur
at The Kahkwa Club all that experience came rushing back like a
heart was pumping over that chip,” said Huarte, who was all square
with her teen-age opponent. She had struggled with her club selection
on the approach shot and chose a 6-iron over the 7 and got too aggressive,
hitting it left and over the green.
earlier, Pressel, facing an uphill pitch and run from the front
fringe, left her ball 10 feet short of the flagstick. Huarte sized
up her shot, swung the sand wedge back and through perfectly and
lofted the ball toward the hole. It stopped three feet from the
flag, drawing a healthy applause from the 100 or so fans surrounding
the green. A dazzling shot under the most intense pressure.
first to putt, missed her par opportunity and Huarte calmly dropped
the putt for a 1-up advantage, her first lead of the match.
that was pretty clutch,” said Huarte. “That was just a big hole
there. I don't know, it's up there [among my best ever]. It's definitely
Pressel: “I just didn't read [my putt] right. I didn't play enough
|Morgan Pressel ran into a buzzsaw in Sarah
Huarte on Friday, but reaching the quarterfinals in her first
Women's Amateur is no small feat for the 16-year-old Floridian.
18, Pressel, knowing she needed a birdie to extend the match, watched
her approach shot sail just right of her target and into the back
bunker. Huarte followed with a 9-iron to 18 feet below the hole.
Pressel blasted to within three feet, but all she could do was watch
her opponent lag to within inches of the hole for a 1-up victory
and a spot in Saturday's semifinals.
dejected Pressel pulled her cap down, made a bee line for the locker
room, stopping only to sign two autographs for a young fan. In the
parking lot with her grandparents, she fought back tears as she
summed up a brilliant week of golf that simply came up short against
a tough foe. In her first Women's Amateur, she advanced to the round
of eight, earning an exemption into the 2005 event in Atlanta.
just want to come back and win this that much more,” said Pressel,
who won the prestigious North and South Women's title this summer
and qualified for the U.S. Women's Open as a 12-year-old three years
ago. “Today I hit the ball all right. I just couldn't make [enough]
putts. I had plenty of opportunities, they just weren't going in.
made putts on every hole. I mean you have to expect your opponent
to make them, especially when you are in the quarters. She's not
going to give them to me.”
Huarte of her younger foe: “It's great to play against these good
players. I'm intimidated by them. I heard so much about Morgan Pressel
coming into this so I was intimidated by her. At the same, I was
trying to intimidate her … but I don't know if that worked.”
more so at the par-5 eighth. With Pressel holding a 1-up lead and
just short of the green in two, Huarte stuck a 4-iron approach from
189 yards to five feet and converted the eagle putt to square the
match. It remained all square until 15 when Pressel holed a 35-foot
uphill birdie putt after Huarte missed the green to the left with
her tee shot.
hole later, Huarte returned the favor, draining a downhill 18-footer
for birdie and Pressel left her 17-footer inches shy of the hole.
stood over that putt and I thought back to the SALLY when I had
that three foot birdie putt on the last hole,” said Huarte. “When
I was at the [Ladies] British Amateur, I made a birdie putt [in
the first round] to go extra holes. So it's the coming of me being
more confident over clutch shots that I have to hit.
can tell my game's going somewhere when you can pull off those really
competitive spirit might have been inherent in Huarte since birth.
Her uncle, John,
won the 1964 Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame. Her father played football
at St. Mary
's College and her mother has
competed and finished the Boston Marathon. Her younger sister, Laura,
is a pole vaulter for Notre Dame's track team.
academics are important as well. Even though her eligibility expired
with the NCAAs in May, Huarte is taking summer-school classes at
and hopes to earn her American Studies degree in December. In fact,
she brought some of her home work with her to the Women's Amateur.
was my last day,” said Huarte. “I'm taking ethnic studies; that's
the final I finished [Friday] morning [before her quarterfinal match].
I e-mailed it in. And I have a geography class that I have to take
a final when I get back.”
she'd also like to pass two more tests before the week ends. Those
would be on the golf course. One comes Saturday against fellow Curtis
Cupper Jane Park with the victor earning a spot in Sunday's 36-hole
the Robert F. Cox Cup back
to northern California would be the capper on a great year.
is a USGA staff writer.
E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.